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Entries in Wrestling (4)

Friday
Feb222013

Wrestling Bridges Iran-US Gap Days Before Nations Meet Over Nuclear Talks

ABC NewsABC News anchor David Muir and his team have traveled to Iran for a special Inside Iran report from the streets of Tehran, revealing the effects of Washington’s tightening sanctions on the country.

By David Muir

(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Twenty-four hours after a new report revealed that U.N. inspectors had found advanced centrifuges at one of Iran’s nuclear plants – allowing the country to speed up its timeline for a nuclear weapon, inspectors said – Iran pushed back.

On Friday, Iran said the world must recognize its right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, ratcheting up the tension before the start of nuclear negotiating talks with the United States and others scheduled for Tuesday in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

But amid the tough talk and the steep U.S. sanctions, we experienced a rare moment of harmony between the U.S. and Iran Friday.

After several requests and hours of waiting, we were allowed into a stadium in Tehran to see the U.S. wrestling team compete at the invitation of Iran.

We counted three women in the arena of 15,000, including an ABC News producer.

Jordan Burroughs, who trained in Nebraska for the Olympics, defeated an Iranian for the gold medal in London. The cheers for him were deafening — “Jordan! Jordan! Jordan!” — and he won.

He told ABC News that his parents had reservations about him coming to Iran.

“My parents were extremely scared,” he said. “They wanted me to Skype call them every day.”

“America’s a great country,” he said after the victory. “Iran is a great country, too. Hopefully, we can come together.”

Soon after, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared, waving to the crowd — and to us.

In the end, the Iranian team took the gold and the U.S., the bronze. Ahmadinejad shook hands with the U.S. team, leaving some Iranians shocked.

“We are all wrestling fans,” the signs read.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb202013

US, Iran Band Together to Save Wrestling as an Olympic Sport

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- Washington and Tehran have finally found common ground although it has nothing to do with Iran's rogue nuclear program.

Last week's announcement that the International Olympic Committee's executive board has recommended dropping wrestling as an event for the 2020 Summer Games is putting the U.S. and Iran on the same side.

Both countries want to save wrestling and will make an appeal to the IOC to keep it as an Olympic sport.

Iran's other strong allies, Russia and Cuba, are also said to be angered by the IOC decision, which could be reversed later this year although most Olympic observers don't believe that will happen.

While the U.S. and Iran can agree on this issue, there have been no diplomatic ties between the two governments in more than three decades.

Wrestling is a particularly big sport in Iran.  Tehran will host the Wrestling World Cup starting Thursday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb142013

Russia Unhappy with Plans to Strike Wrestling from 2020 Olympics

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- The International Olympic Committee's plans to remove wrestling from the 2020 Olympics has drawn widespread criticism, and now it has drawn an appeal from Russia.

Russia has historically performed well in wrestling events, and some Russian commentators have suggested that the move to strike the event was politically motivated. Alexander Karelin, Russia's Greco-Roman wrestling legend, said Russia's dominance in the sport was the only reason it has been removed from the games.

In the 2012 London Olympics, 11 of Russia's 82 medals came in wrestling events. Russia was also awarded 11 of the 72 total wrestling medals in the London Olympics.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb132013

International Olympic Committee Drops Wrestling from 2020 Games

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages(LAUSANNE, Switzerland) -- The International Olympic Committee announced on Tuesday that it would be dropping freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, beginning with the 2020 Summer Games.

The reason for the decision was not made clear by the IOC, whose 15-member executive board ousted wrestling from Olympic competition via secret ballot.

However, there is plenty of speculation regarding what was behind the controversial decision to exclude one of the most traditional Olympic sports.

For some time, the IOC has talked of reducing the size of the Summer Games as well as making it appear more relevant to a younger audience.  Olympic-style wrestling is not a well-publicized sport in the U.S., which is dwarfed by the more entertainment-driven professional wrestling.

Mike Moyer, executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association, says the move will hurt Team USA.  Moyer says wrestling has been one of the top medal count sports for the U.S. over the past several Olympics, and the IOC decision will definitely cost America some medals.

There is the possibility that the IOC could reinstate wrestling when it votes in May to add another athletic event, but the chances of that are one in seven. Seven other sports -- including baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu -- are up for the slot.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio