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SBD Global/September 10, 2013/Olympics

Former USOC CEO Jim Scherr Applauds Return Of Wrestling To Olympic Program

Former USOC CEO Jim Scherr said wrestling has gotten more exposure than ever in recent months.
Former USOC CEO and Olympic wrestler JIM SCHERR Sunday led off the wrestling federation's (FILA) presentation to the IOC. He was among the group that erupted and pumped its fists the moment after IOC President Jacques Rogge announced that wrestling received enough votes to stay in the Olympics. Scherr sat down with SportsBusiness Journal staff writer Tripp Mickle in the lobby of the Hilton Buenos Aires a day after the decision to discuss wrestling's effort to retain its spot in the Olympics.

What did this do for wrestling?
Jim Scherr: It's made significant change of people in leadership positions, the structure of governance, the rules and general excitement of the sport, but probably the single thing it did more than anything else is there's more worldwide interest and coverage of Olympic wrestling in the last seven months than there's been in the last 25 years.

How does wrestling build on that interest?
Scherr: There were tens of millions of people around the world following this process. Wrestling needs to create a platform that can reach them. A multilingual and layered media platform underpinned with a sponsorship program. Whatever content they have and developed content they need to get out on broadcast and digital. They need to get that to the masses and do it fast because they don't have a big window to do it.

How much infrastructure is in place now?
Scherr: It's very limited. They weren't geared for this stuff before in the federation.

What message does this process send to other sports federations?
Scherr: Every federation but a couple now feels like they could be in the same situation that wrestling (was in). The (int'l federations) will all be on their toes a little bit because of this process.

What is next for you with wrestling?
Scherr: I'm on the (FILA) executive board for the next year and a half and will stay involved that way. Within the U.S., I hope to be involved in helping USA Wrestling do the same thing, which is work on the presentation of the sport, work on creating a media platform and work on selling that platform. I'd like to help with that in an advisory capacity.
Tripp Mickle is on the ground in Buenos Aires reporting and tweeting from the IOC meetings. Look for continued posts from him on our On The Ground blog.
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