Statements from Olympians past and present on IOC Executive Committee announcement on wrestling

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Olympic champion Henry Cejudo

“Wrestling isn’t a dying sport – it’s a growing sport around the world. We’ve got to fight for this and find out more about what we can do to influence the IOC to keep wrestling in the Olympics.

“This isn’t over until it’s over. We need to come together and figure out the best plan and the best strategy to attack this.

“Wrestling has given me everything. It gave a poor American kid a chance to accomplish his dream. You don’t have to be as tall as LeBron James to achieve your goals. Wrestling has given me a platform to share my story and inspire kids to pursue their dreams. Wrestling got me out of poverty and out of the ghetto. We need to do everything we can to keep this sport alive. If wrestling is taken away from the Olympics, it will shatter the dreams of a lot of kids.”

Olympic and World champion Rulon Gardner

“We need to show the IOC the value of wrestling. There were medalists from 28 different countries at the Olympics in London, and there is obviously great diversity in our sport. It is a sport that has huge interest and participation numbers around the world. It is a sport that has significant historical value as one of the first Olympic sports.

“We need to pull everyone in the world together and get everyone on the same page 100 percent. We need to come up with a game plan and fight for this. We need other countries like Russia on board to help us. We can’t let this sport die. We need to act quickly on this and do everything we can to keep this great sport alive.”

World champion and Olympic bronze medalist Clarissa Chun

“Wrestling has provided so many great opportunities for so many people. Women’s wrestling is one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S. Wrestling is the purest form of athleticism, where it’s one-on-one competition to determine who is the best.

“Wrestling has given me opportunities I would’ve never dreamed of. It was an amazing experience to compete in two Olympic Games. I can’t even put into words what it meant to me. The feeling of winning that medal in London was incredible. Representing my country, it was bigger than being in the sport. I will never forget those experiences.

“I’m optimistic that we can keep wrestling in the Olympics. Wrestlers are so passionate about our sport. We will fight to save it and do what it takes to stay in the 2020 Olympics. We are fighters. I know it’s difficult right now, but we have to stay positive and try to keep wrestling in the Olympics.”

Olympian and World silver medalist Jake Herbert

“We’re wrestlers. It’s the third period, we’re down by one and this is what we train for. We’re going to fight this. We are the purest Olympic sport and one of the largest sports we have. Wrestling is the Olympics. It’s the toughest, most grueling, most demanding and most humbling sport there is. It teaches you so many life lessons.

“Wrestling has worldwide support. Countries like Iran and Azerbaijan and Russia, they are going to fight for this as well. It’s not done yet. We need to fight for this and do everything we can to save wrestling. We need to stay positive and keep wrestling in the Olympics for 2020 and beyond.”

Olympic and World champion Jordan Burroughs

“It's not over yet. We will keep fighting to save the sport we love. Don't stop dreaming and don't stop believing.”