The Norman Transcript

National Sports

May 15, 2013

United States, Russia, Iran work to save wrestling from Olympic exodus

UNITED NATIONS — In Iran, Olympic wrestling champion Jordan Burroughs felt like Justin Bieber, LeBron James and Tom Brady all rolled into one.

Not so much in his home country, though the New Jersey native was greeted by more than a dozen television cameras Tuesday when the American team arrived at the United Nations for a news conference with the Iranian and Russian squads.

Wrestling’s leaders hope sports fans do a double-take when they see those three countries in the same sentence — to prove a point about the sport’s universality. The International Olympic Committee has recommended that wrestling be dropped starting with the 2020 Games, a decision that has a lot of people talking about the sport.

“It was like a double-edged sword. It’s bittersweet,” Burroughs said. “We’re fighting for our lives, but in retrospect, we’re getting more attention than we’ve ever received. Walking in here and seeing all these cameras, you’re like, ‘What the heck’s going on?’ It’s not a lot of times we get this much press.”

The United States will face fellow wrestling powers Iran and then Russia in exhibitions Wednesday at Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal. It’s not the first time a wrestling meet has sprung up at a famed New York City locale — this is the fourth straight year such an event has been held to raise money for wrestling nonprofit Beat the Streets, with the last two in Times Square.

And it’s not the first time the Iranians have competed in the U.S., though they hadn’t been back since the world championships in this same city a decade ago. But February’s unexpected IOC decision changed everything, and the organizers’ goal is for “The Rumble on the Rails” to be much more than just another charitable event or international exhibition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Tour leader Nibali says he’s ‘flag-bearer’ against doping

    CARCASSONNE, France — Barring a disaster for him on French roads from now until Sunday, the man who looks set to win the Tour de France says he understands that cycling is still paying for its longtime doping plague....

    July 22, 2014

  • McIlroy will emerge even stronger than ever

    HOYLAKE, England — The celebration began long before Rory McIlroy had a chance to drink out of the claret jug....

    July 22, 2014

  • Petrino ushers Louisville into ACC

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — Bobby Petrino turned Louisville into a top-10 team nearly a decade ago. Now, more than two years after a scandal derailed his career, Petrino is back with the Cardinals as they enter the Atlantic Coast Conference....

    July 22, 2014

  • Stewart still riding high

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tony Stewart heads into the busiest week of his year riding high from a win in his return to sprint car racing. Stewart raced in a sprint car last weekend for the first time since he broke his leg in an extracurricular ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Witness: Sterling must sell to pay debts

    LOS ANGELES — The chief financial officer of Donald Sterling’s properties said Monday that the billionaire may be forced to sell a large portion of his real estate empire to cover $500 million in loans if he persists in refusing to sell ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Mikolas pitches Rangers past sloppy Yankees

    NEW YORK — Miles Mikolas earned his first win as a starter, pitching into the eighth inning Monday night and leading the Texas Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the sloppy New York Yankees. Trailing by a run with none on and two outs in the ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Angels with latest big move before deadline

    Oakland general manager Billy Beane acted boldly, trading top prospect Addison Russell in a deal that brought starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics....

    July 22, 2014

  • Jeter turns small part of attention to business

    NEW YORK — Pedestrians craned their necks as Derek Jeter stood in front of a food truck parked across the street from Central Park....

    July 22, 2014

  • Ortiz homers twice, Red Sox rout Blue Jays

    TORONTO — David Ortiz hit the 452nd and 453rd home runs of his career, moving past Boston great Carl Yastrzemski into 36th place on the all-time list, and the Red Sox won their fifth straight game Monday night, routing the Toronto Blue ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Dodgers edge out Cardinals

    ST. LOUIS — Adrian Gonzalez hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning off St. Louis Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal and the Los Angeles Dodgers salvaged the series finale with a 4-3 victory Sunday night....

    July 21, 2014