By Gary Abbott
Many of the top leaders within wrestling will get together in Hoboken, N.J. on Wednesday, November 14 to participate in the Freestyle Leadership Summit.
This is an important meeting held every four years at the start of the new Olympic four-year cycle to allow the leadership within the sport to discuss the new four-year High Performance Plan for men’s freestyle and have input on its direction and implementation.
A similar Freestyle Leadership Summit was hosted at the start of the 2009-2012 Olympic quadrennium. The planning from this important meeting helped the United States freestyle team to improve throughout the four years leading up to the 2012 London Olympics. Freestyle Team USA won three medals at the London Games, led by Olympic champions Jake Varner and Jordan Burroughs and bronze medalist Coleman Scott, and placed third in the unofficial standings at the Olympics.
The Summit will feature leaders from USA Wrestling’s Board of Directors and national staff, as well as representation from many other groups within the sport. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame, the National Wrestling Coaches Association and the U.S. Olympic Committee will participate, as well as leadership from the NCAA, college wrestling programs, Regional Training Centers, national club programs, medical staff, sponsors and others. A number of alumni from past World and Olympic freestyle teams will also contribute to the planning discussions. Leaders from the USA Wrestling Foundation will also participate.
There will be a wide ranging agenda covering a variety of topics important to strengthening USA Wrestling’s programs in men’s freestyle.
The Summit is being held alongside a Freestyle National Team Training Camp being held this week in Hoboken at the Edge Hoboken, as well as the Olympic Wrestling Team Thanks America tour set for later on Wednesday in New York City. The annual New York Athletic Club International was held in New York City this past weekend, with the USA winning five of the seven gold medals.
“Tomorrow is a big day for us. It’s the time when we bring our brightest wrestling people together to lay out our strategic plan,” said National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones. “Four years ago we did this when we decided on taking the program in a new direction. It paid off for us. Now that the freestyle program is at this point, we need to find the path to get our team on the top of the podium. We’re trying to get our team from good to great.”
FREESTYLE LEADERSHIP SUMMIT
At Hoboken, N.J., November 14
Tentative participant list (alphabetically)
Lee Roy Smith