Gable: "I'm really looking forward to this battle"

Feb. 21, 2013

NEW YORK — Former University of Iowa head wrestling coach and Olympic Gold medalist Dan Gable continued his media tour Thursday in New York City to promote wrestling’s intention to fight for Olympic reinstatement.

The International Olympic Committee announced Feb. 12 that wrestling will not be included in the Olympic program beginning in 2020.

Gable was a guest on Fox and Friends yesterday before appearing on MSNBC’s Jansing & Co. on Thursday morning.

“We have an uphill battle,” Gable told host Chris Jansing, “but it’s bringing wrestling out in the public like it’s never been before.”

Wrestling, along with track and field, is considered by many to be the oldest competition in the Olympics, and Gable disputed the notion that global participation and popularity are among the reasons wrestling did not survive the IOC chopping block.

“That’s untrue because it’s definitely popular,” Gable said. “We’re in almost 200 countries.”

“There are two committees, the International Olympic Committee and FILA, which is our governing body for wrestling, and I think there were some issues there. Our organization needed to do more homework and we’re finding that out right now. Maybe it’s a scare, but hopefully everybody will get what they want out of this.”

Wrestling is not completely out of breath. FILA has an opportunity to present the sport for reinstatement when the IOC executive board meets in May in St. Petersburg, Russia. Wrestling is one of eight sports vying for a single opening in 2020. The others include a combined bid from baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding, and wushu.

The final vote will be made at the IOC session, or general assembly, in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“I don’t call it a wakeup call,” Gable said. “It’s more like you get zapped and then you get back up and get zapped again. So it’s like an electrical shock. We have a chance to do something now that we’ve never done before, so I’m really looking forward to this battle.

“The strategy is to get the whole world to work together and get the other people that can help to really help us and retain an Olympic sport that is worldwide and doing well.”