Top Ten Stories from 2020
Monday, January 4, 2021 - 16:26 By United World Wrestling Press
1. President Statement on Tokyo 2020 and Next Steps
Dear Athletes and Members of the Wrestling Community,
Coming from the Joint Statement of the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, I would like to inform you that the Tokyo2020 Games will be postponed to no later than Summer 2021.
This decision was made after accounting for the health of the athletes, those involved in the Olympic Games, and the international community at-large.
The decision to delay will have a significant impact on our athletes and the remaining qualification process. Like other federations and stakeholders, we are waiting to receive more detailed guidelines from the IOC Sports Department concerning the qualification process and will provide an update as soon as possible.
2. Who’s In? Freestyle Wrestling Olympic Qualifiers
In response to the IOC’s decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympic Games until the summer of 2021, United World Wrestling has announced that all Olympic qualification spots already earned will continue to be honored.
Russia crowned four world champions and one bronze medalist in Olympic freestyle weight categories at the 2019 World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, to qualify five weight categories for the Tokyo Olympics. The only weight category not yet qualified for Russia is 125kg.
The United States had a strong performance at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier in Ottawa, Canada, qualifying three weight categories to go along with the two qualified at the World Championships.
Kazakhstan has four Olympic qualifiers in freestyle and will look to add to that total at the Asian Olympic Qualifier and World Olympic "Last Chance" Qualifier.
Cuba, India, and Iran currently sit at three Olympic qualifiers.
Let's examine where things stand in each of the six freestyle weight categories heading into the final four Olympic qualifying events.
3. Who’s In? Greco-Roman Olympic Qualifiers for #Tokyo2020NE
While seven nations have qualified two wrestlers and a dozen more have qualified one wrestler, the nation-by-nation leaderboard is dominated by Cuba. The small Caribbean island nation has qualified all six Olympic weight categories, a sign that the nation might repeat the unofficial team championship it won at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
Cuba will once again be led by Olympic champion Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (67kg) and three-time Olympic champion Mijain LOPEZ (130kg), but look for Russia, Georgia, Ukraine and Iran to all make gains during their respective continental qualification tournaments.
The United States has qualified four weight categories, with all coming at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier this March in Ottawa: 60kg, 67kg, 87kg and 97kg.
American Adam COON captured a world silver medal at 130kg in 2018, but the United States still has yet to qualify there or 77kg.
4. Who’s In? Women's Wrestling Olympic Qualifiers
The top women’s wrestling nations are back at it this qualification year as Japan, China, and the lead in the race to accumulate the most Olympic qualifiers.
The United States is the lone nation with all six weight categories qualified in women's wrestling having qualified two weight categories at the 2019 World Championships and adding four more at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier in Ottawa, Canada.
Japan qualified five of the six weight categories at the World Championships, while China qualified four. Both nations are expected to fill out their Olympic licenses at the Asian Olympic qualification event in March 2021
5. Stars of the Mat Encourage Wrestling Community to 'Stay Strong, Stay at Home'
The stars of United World Wrestling took to social media in massive numbers this week to encourage fellow wrestlers and their fans to "Stay Strong and Stay at Home!"
More than 70 of the world's most successful wrestlers, including Olympic champions Jordan BURROUGHS (USA), Hassan YAZDANICHARATI (IRI), Saori YOSHIDA (JPN), and Artur ALEKSANYAN (ARM) sent in their messages to United World Wrestling, who has shared their video via Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
6. United World Wrestling Launches Innovative Online Learning Academy
After more than a year of development United World Wrestling has launched its innovative online academy for assisting wrestlers, coaches, referees, and administrators with programs aimed at education, certification and career advancement.
The first version of the site includes the Online Rule Test, the Ready to Wrestle Program, the Introduction to Coaching course and the Level 1 Coaches Course. Coaches interested in anti-doping instruction can also access WADA’s "Coach True" program.
7. United World Wrestling Partners with Nike Wrestling for ‘We Will Wrestle Again’ Campaign
United World Wrestling, the international governing body for the sport of wrestling, has teamed up with global supplier Nike Wrestling for the “We Will Wrestle Again” campaign. The effort is focused on providing financial relief to wrestling organizations impacted by the global pandemic.
'We Will Wrestle Again' aims to maximize the reach of UWW and Nike to raise money via tee shirt sales and direct the relief to National Federations, host-cities, and other grassroots activities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The tee shirts are available for sale on the United World Wrestling online store: uwwstore.com
8. United World Wrestling and FloSports Announce Global Broadcast Agreement
United World Wrestling has signed a two-year livestreaming agreement with FloSports for all 2019 and 2020 Ranking Series and Beach Wrestling events.
The two-year agreement will include 12 Ranking Series events in 2019 and four Beach Wrestling championships. All events will be available in the United States on FloWrestling.org.
“United World Wrestling is excited to partner with FloSports in providing promotion and coverage of our Ranking Series events," said Gordon Templeman, Director of Commercial Operations for United World Wrestling. “Our sport is fortunate to have a passionate fanbase and we believe FloSports will excel in connecting these Ranking Series and Beach Wrestling Championships to our core audience.”
9. Wrestling to Organize 'Individual World Cup' In Lieu of 2020 World Championships
After not reaching the criteria defined by the United World Wrestling Bureau in June to host a 'World Championships, the decision was made Tuesday to organize an “Individual World Cup” as substitute event.
National Federations had been given until Thursday, November 5th to confirm their interest in participating at the 2020 World Championships. UWW had set a benchmark requiring that at least 8 of 10 of the top nations from the 2019 World Championships, and 70% of total athletes, participate in 2020. With many nations reinstating travel restrictions in response to COVID-19 the participation hurdles were not met.
“We want to see our athletes compete again on the mat. It’s important to our organization and we are committed to providing them an opportunity,” said United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic. “There are real challenges to overcome, but we are working together to find a safe and acceptable format where our top athletes can compete in a world class event.”
10. Wrestling Returns After 270 Day Absence with Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Dec. 12-18
The 2020 Individual World Cup gets underway Saturday in Belgrade, Serbia, with 505 wrestlers representing 51 different countries. Thirty weight categories in three styles will be contested over seven days of competition.
The Individual World Cup is serving as a substitute event for the 2020 World Championships. The event was canceled after not fulfilling the criteria set forth by the UWW Bureau. The criteria included having at least 8 of 10 of the top nations from the 2019 World Championships and 70% of total athletes participate in 2020.
The Individual World Cup represents international wrestling's return to competition and will lay the groundwork for safety protocols and countermeasures around all competitions. This will be vital to ensure a safe environment for future competitions in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics.