Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
FILE - The Aug. 5, 2012 file photo shows Cuba's Gustavo Balart, left, competing with South Korea's Choi Gyu-jin during 55-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. IOC leaders have dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, file)
Olympics: Wrestling leader puts case for inclusion to IOC’s Rogge
Olympics » He apologizes for medals returned by wrestlers, but presses to keep sport in games
First Published Mar 07 2013 09:41 am • Last Updated Mar 08 2013 09:55 pm

Lausanne, Switzerland • The acting head of wrestling’s world body met with IOC President Jacques Rogge on Thursday, promising to fight to retain the sport’s Olympic status and apologizing for the protest by wrestlers who have returned their medals.

Nenad Lalovic, interim FILA president, said Rogge outlined the difficult task wrestling faces in a race among eight sports seeking one vacancy on the program for the 2020 Games.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"He said that everybody has to earn their place," Lalovic said after the 40-minute meeting at International Olympic Committee headquarters.

"I don’t see any other way" but hard work, the Serbian official acknowledged, in persuading the IOC to reverse last month’s surprise recommendation by the executive board to cut wrestling from the 2020 program.

Lalovic also apologized to Rogge for the wrestlers who have sent back their Olympic medals to the IOC in anger.

"I was the first to say that, ‘I’m very sorry that it happens,’" Lalovic said. "I strongly believe it is not good for wrestling. This is not something that is going to help us."

Earlier Thursday, Andrzej Supron of Poland pledged to return his silver medal in the Greco-Roman lightweight division won at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Sagid Murtazaliyev of Russia and Valentin Yordanov of Bulgaria have said they would return gold medals, while two-time Olympic champion Armen Nazaryan of Bulgaria has gone on a hunger strike.

"Of course, we can’t control individual activities and we can’t stop them," Lalovic said.

The IOC board will meet on May 29 in St. Petersburg, Russia, to recommend a short list of sports to be considered for inclusion in 2020. The final decision will be made by the full IOC membership at their assembly in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

story continues below
story continues below

A combined baseball-softball bid, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding, and the martial arts of karate and wushu are the other sports vying for 2020 inclusion.

The IOC described the meeting with Lalovic as "productive."

"A wide range of topics was discussed and the IOC looks forward to continued collaboration with FILA in the coming months and in the run-up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games," the Olympic body said.

FILA is seeking to harness global support for its campaign, which has brought together the United States, Russia and Iran in a rare show of unity.

FILA has appealed for wrestlers to stop their protests through a message from Russian great Alexander Karelin, newly recruited to its athletes committee.

"We would like to request each of you to redirect your passions," the message on the FILA website stated. "We appreciate your tenacity and understand that complacency is not in your DNA.

"Nonetheless, returning your gold medal is counterproductive. Before the practice escalates, we urge you to keep your Olympic medals and celebrate your achievement."

Karelin’s appointment is among a slate of modernizing changes FILA made since being rocked by the Feb. 12 decision. Its president, Swiss businessman Raphael Martinetti, resigned within days.

"We were sleeping on our ears," said Lalovic, who will be a candidate in a presidential election scheduled in the coming weeks.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.