SBD/May 15, 2013/Olympics

FILA Plans MMA-Influenced Changes To Wrestling In Effort To Keep Sport In Olympics

Wrestling officials are "planning a makeover in a push to keep their sport in the Olympics" by "taking tips from the mixed martial arts world," according to Kelly Whiteside of USA TODAY. The sport is "thinking big and bold when it comes to showmanship," and "staged weigh-ins, walk-out music, lighting, visual effects and video screen replays are all being discussed." Int'l Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) interim President Nenad Lalovic said, "We have to think about how to make a show, because without that today, it's difficult." Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling Chair Bill Scherr "has met with" UFC President Dana White and Bellator Chair & CEO Bjorn Rebney. Scherr said, "We need to think about ways to change how the stage is presented." Whiteside notes uniform changes "will come next year." Freestyle wrestlers "likely would wear shorts and a tight-fitting T-shirt." Though the singlet is "iconic in wrestling, it isn't exactly fan friendly." Scherr said, "My own thought is to go a little more mainstream and get uniforms that look like the rest of the Olympic Games." Wrestling, along with seven other sports, will "make its case before" the IOC exec board on May 29 (USA TODAY, 5/15).

ON DISPLAY: The AP noted the U.S., Russian and Iranian wrestling teams today will take part in “The Rumble on the Rails” at Grand Central Terminal in N.Y. The event, which will be carried live at 3:30pm ET by NBC Sports Network and Universal Sports, is “designed to highlight the sport’s international appeal and popularity” amid the threat of elimination from the Olympics (AP, 5/14). This will mark the "first time the Iranian team competed on American soil in ten years" (NBCSPORTS.com, 5/14).
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