Female Olympic Wrestlers Claim Unfair Treatment

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A formal complaint has been filed with USA Wrestling by some of the USA's top female wrestlers. They are claiming unfair and unequal treatment as compared to the male wrestlers in the same program.

The women cite the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act which requires that men's and women's Olympic sports be treated equally.

The women include multiple examples of when they claim punishments, rewards, and the quality of their coaching staff has differed from that of the men's team.

"When I first left the program it was based on the principal that women deserve to be treated better, it was simply that," said Patricia Miranda, one of the claimants. "Discrimination actually occurs in many areas, from unequal coaching to unequal financial incentives to different expectations of the athletes to different punishments of the athletes."

The women also claim they've been publicly insulted and the coaches played favorites, ignoring some who asked for help.

"The wrongs that stand out for me are the ways in which the females freedoms and opportunities are limited in a way that they aren't for the men," Miranda said. "I still very much view myself as team USA, just the best service I can do right now for Team USA is to bring back the Olympic ideals to women wrestlers in our country."

The complaint includes letters from some of the women about their coaching staff making requirements of their female athletes that are not required of the men's team. Several of the women also write of how they claim they have been forced into early retirement because of the deep seeded problems with USA Women's Olympic wrestling.

In the grievance, the women claim the following:

USA Wrestling enforces disciplinary sanctions unequally between their male athletes and their female athletes.

USA Wrestling imposes unequal requirements and burdens on their female athletes for US amateur representation.

USA Wrestling offers disparate monetary incentives between their men's and women's programs.

USA Wrestling's four-year High Performance Plan (HHP) visions for the treatment of their male and female athletes this quadrennium are unequal and place an unfair burden on female athletes.

USA Wrestling allows their National coaching staff to exhibit inappropriate predatory behavior towards outside female athletes and outside female training institutions.

USA Wrestling displays a higher tolerance for inappropriate, sub-standard coaching behavior over their female athletes.

USA Wrestling provides unequal caliber coaches for their female athletes as compared to their male athletes.

USA Wrestling provides a disproportionately low number of funded coaching positions for their women's programs.

11 News contacted USA Wrestling for a response to the grievance.
Richard Bender, Executive Director of USA Wrestling, says they were made aware of it today. He says anytime an athlete has a concern, it is taken seriously and USA Wrestling will follow the process and hopefully find a quick resolution.

Bender goes on to say USA Wrestling is proud of the women's program. He also says USA Wrestling invests more resources financially in women’s program than men’s.

By law, USA Wrestling will need to officially respond to the grievance in "a reasonable amount of time", or it will be sent to the United States Olympic Committee.