A Former Wrestler’s Open Letter To The International Olympic Committee & Olympic Sponsors. Save Olympic Wrestling!

Dear International Olympic Committee & Olympic Sponsors

cc: Friends of Wrestling,

Your decision today clearly upset a large number of Olympic fans around the world.  While we who are not privy to all of the issues you must grapple with internally, cannot know exactly what led to your decision announced today to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympic games, it is clear you have miscalculated on at least one front.  To wit, wrestling is one of the toughest sports ever invented and anyone who has wrestled at any level or has been close to wrestling can tell you… wrestlers are a tenacious lot.  In fact, we don’t give up.  The level of protest you can expect from this community will surely come as a surprise to all of you.

There three main reasons why the Olympics will be diminished without wrestling:

1. Wrestling, a truly international sport, has been around since pre-historic times and was an important part of Greek culture when the Olympics got its start –

According to WIKIPEDIA:

In the Ancient Near East, forms of belt wrestling were popular from earliest times.  A carving on a stone slabe showing three pairs of wrestlers was dated to around 3000 BC… A portrayal of figures wrestling was found in the tomb of Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum in Saqqara dating to around 2400 BC.  Another early piece of evidence for wrestling in Egypt appeared circa 2300 BC, on the tomb of the Old Kingdom philosopher Ptahhotep…. Greek wrestling was a popular form of martial art in which points were awarded for touching a competitor’s back to the ground, forcing a competitor out of bounds (arena).  Three falls determined the winner. It was at least featured as a sport since the eighteenth Olympiad in 704 BC. Wrestling is described in the earliest celebrated works of Greek literature, the Iliad and the Odyssey.   Wrestlers were also depicted in action on many vases, sculptures, and coins, as well as in other literature. Other cultures featured wrestling at royal or religious celebrations, but the ancient Greeks structured their style of wrestling as part of a tournament where a single winner emerged from a pool of competitors.   Late Greek tradition also stated that Plato was known for wrestling in the Isthmian games.

When the Olympic games resurfaced at Athens in 1896, Greco-Roman wrestling was introduced. After not being featured in the 1900 Olympics, sport wrestling was seen again in 1904 in St. Louis; this time in freestyle competition. Since then, Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling have both been featured, with women’s freestyle added in the Summer Olympics of 2004.

2. Wrestling has a tight knit passionate community of participants and followers globally, who greatly value and honor the Olympics.  Wrestling does not have a professional wrestling option as many other sports.  Unlike many other sports, the Olympics are the highest and most important venue for wrestling.  Many other sports have other higher levels (professional ).  All US (and international) wrestlers who got our start after him, grew up idolizing Dan Gable and his perfect performance (no point ever scored against him throughout the games) in the 1972 Olympic games.  I had the privilege of attending Dan Gable’s Iowa Intensive Training Camp back in 1983.

Smoke with Dan Gable in 1983

3.  Wrestlers and their friends have significant influence in today’s society.  It is ironic that the day the IOC chose to drop wrestling happens to be wrestler and greatest US President, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.  We will use that influence to do anything in our power to change this short sighted decision.  Whether the wrestling greats like Dan Gable or the many others who have gone on to excel in their professional pursuits, we will work together to fix this.  Here are but a few of the well known Americans who wrestled (from the National Wrestling Coaches Association):

U.S. PRESIDENTS

Chester Arthur Calvin Coolidge Dwight Eisenhower

Ulysses S Grant Andrew Jackson Abraham Lincoln Teddy Roosevelt William Howard Taft

John Tyler

 

 

U.S. SENATE

The late John Chafee (former senator RI)

Lincoln Chafee (former senator RI)

Chuck Hagel ( Nebraska )

John McCain ( Arizona )

The Late Paul Wellstone ( Minnesota )

 

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Brad Glass

Greg Ganske (Iowa )

Jim Jordon (Ohio)

Jim Leach ( Iowa )

Jim Nussle ( Iowa )

The Late Carl Albert (Former Speaker of the House)

Dennis Hastert ( Illinois ) (Former Speaker of the House)

 

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

Donald Rumsfeld

Frank Carlucci

 

WHITE HOUSE STAFF

Ari Fleischer

George Stephanopoulos

 

ACADEMY AWARD WINNER

John Irving

 

ACTORS

Nate Parker

Mario Lopez

Ashton Kutcher

Tom Cruise

Billy Baldwin

 

BUSINESS LEADERS

Rocky Aoki, Benihana

Scott Beck, Boston Market

James Bigger, Nestlé

Dan Cathy, Chic-Fil-a

Stephen Friedman, Goldman Sachs and Cornell

Ron McGruder, Olive Garden

Edward Rust, State Farm

Arthur Rutzen, Wells Fargo

MILITARY LEADERS

Military leaders

Denny Benchoff

Greg “Pappy” Boyington

Charles C Krulak

George Patton

Al Rushotz

Norman Schwartzkopf

ATHLETES

NFL

Stephen Neal – New England Patriots

Antonio Garay – San Diego Chargers

Davin Joseph – Tampa Bay

Ronde Barber – Tampa Bay

Joe Condo – Oakland

Chris Colley – Washington

Ray Lewis – Baltimore

Lorenzo Neal – San Diego

Donnie Edwards

Kelly Gregg – Baltimore

Bryant McKinnie – Minnesota

David Patten – New England

Adam Vinatieri – Indianapolis

Ricky Williams – Miami

Coy Wire – Atlanta

Roddy White – Atlanta

Ronnie Brown – Miami

Matt Roth – Cleveland

Mike Patterson – Philadelphia

Luis Castillo – San Diego

Jim Nance – New England

Brand Benson – NY Giants

Mike Reid – Bengals

Jeff Richardson – NY Jets

Tiki Barber – NY Giants

Tedy Bruschi – New England

Larry Czonka – Miami

Bob Golic – Cleveland

Mike Golic – Philadelphia

Carlton Haselrig – Pittsburgh

Bo Jackson – Oakland

Matt Millen – Oakland

Warren Sapp – Tampa Bay

Mark Schlereth – Denver

Chuck Noll – Pittsburgh

Curley Culp – Kansas City Chiefs

At the Olympic Wrestling Trials in Indianapolis in 2004

US Olympic Wrestling Trials - 2004 Former Cornell Wrestlers at Olympic Trials 2004

And if I could list all the non-American’s I would.  Wrestling is truly an international sport like few others.

Here is a NPR clip on the Turkish Wrestling response… an example of reaction around the world

IOC, I believe you will listen to reason so long as it is delivered by your sponsors.  These sponsors are global companies most of which are based in wrestling countries as are their customer.  The global partners of the Olympics include (along with their twitter handle):

Coca-Cola   https://twitter.com/cocacolaco

P&G  https://twitter.com/ProcterGamble

General Electric  https://twitter.com/generalelectric

DOW   https://twitter.com/DowChemical

McDonalds  https://twitter.com/McDonalds

Panasonic  https://jp.twitter.com/panasonic

Samsung  https://twitter.com/Samsungtweets

Omega  https://twitter.com/omegawatches

Visa  https://twitter.com/Visa

#saveolympicwrestling

For the Friends of Wrestling:

Here is the petition to re-instate wrestling into the Olympics.. please sign it.

Sign the Petition

If you are really motivated, tweet about it, mention the sponsors on twitter and worst case if we do not get support, take your business to other companies who are not supporting the IOC and this short sighted move.

Thanks and Kind Regards,

J. Smoke Wallin

former Cornell Wrestler, Bayshore HS Wrestler

Freshman Year Wrestling at Bayshore High School

Cornell Wrestling Team 1985

Fiscal Cliff – Lack of Leadership in Washington – calls for a bit of “grace”

In our WISE (Wine Industry Sales Education) class on Public Speaking with world renowned public speaking coach Linda Spillane, we all had to write a short speech.  Anitra wrote and delivered a touching and compelling commentary on the current lack of leadership among our major political parties and politicians.  Our whole group thought it was important and compelling given what is going on in Washington.  Here is her talk… let me know what you think.

 

 

Family Predictions… 2012 Outcomes

So, we don’t do a lot of politics here, but occasionally will weigh in on what is going on or an important event.  Today is one of those important events – the US Elections.  I thought it might be fun to ask around a few of my family members what their predictions are going into today and also share a few thoughts of my own.  You will note I have family with widely divergent views to my own, but in the spirit of this great nation, and the true purpose of debate…  “not victory, but progress” – I share a few of them here with permission:

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First, my prediction:

Romney wins in a landslide. All those normal folks who were afraid of the drone slinging pres/gov and would not answer pollsters, actually vote their conscience.  That is, for a smaller, less intrusive government led by a moderate smart successful caring  person, who did what he had to do to get the nomination.  The country moderates back to a post ww2 equilibrium of about 20% fed gov spend of GNP and taxes. Balanced.   This fixes the problem. Yes there are some sacrifices re various worthy spending causes.  But alas, my parents retire with full current benefits, and those of us under 50′, buy into a new social pact whereby we know gov is there for a certain amount, but not for everything we need.  The gen x and later generations have to make the hard choices that the free spending baby boom generation of bill Clinton and our parents did not make.  Instead we focus on personal responsibility, hard work and innovation to get us to the place we need to be as a nation.  No more blaming the past or others for our predicament.

There is a complete rethink in academia…. Ayn Rand was right.  Hayek is the new Jay-z.  As a people, we recall what made us revolt from the British empire and create the greatest nation in history. We will remember Ben Franklin.

This will unleash an unprecedented burst of entrepreneurial activity fueled  by the billions and trillions of money on the sides lines during these dark times.   This will create opportunity for all. Women, Hispanic, Black, American Indian, Asian, all of us will benefit as a result.

Life will be grand.  🙂

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Now my Dad’s – Luke Wallin
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“The president is re-elected by comfortable margins in the popular vote and the electoral college.

The senate and house remain as they were.

In the coming year many republicans copy the strategy of “say anything.” However, it doesn’t work. This causes PhD dissertations to be written on why it worked for Romney but not for others. When the first of these works comes up for oral defense, a faculty member points out that “it didn’t work.” The thesis is rejected and all the others are quietly tossed as new topics are floated.

Chris Christie leads the party back toward moderation. This brings a war with the Tea Party, backed by the Koch brothers. Karl Rove backs Christie. Outcome too close to call.

The NRA HQ disappears in a flash of light.

Somebody said they thought they saw a drone.

What say you?”

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Now my oldest son, Skye Wallin
———-

“I predict a narrow Obama victory… almost certainly a victory in Ohio.

But he certainly could lose and I don’t pretend that it’s out of the realm of possibility.  Indeed, with the hurricane disruptions of voting in NY, NJ, CN, Obama may lose the popular vote and still win the College.  I hope this isn’t the case.

If Obama loses, it will be a sad thing not because he’s the greatest president, but because it will make cynics out of his supporters and cynics out of the citizens of the world who witness America fire the young man they chose to rescue us from the most catastrophic presidency in history.  People like to say that after 4 years, you can’t blame Bush anymore.  Well, I blame a lot of people and two parties, but Bush changed the world forever and wrecked a lot of things with draconian, expensive policies.

If Obama loses, it says that Americans really don’t have an ounce of patience and give up on promising individuals.  Barack still has lots of potential… after 4 years, I think he has learned what works, what doesn’t, and will approach governance more forcefully in the second term.  What kind of people are we to not even give him the chance to succeed.  As the economy improves, as the occupation of Afghanistan winds down, and as the recovery in Sandy-effected territories gets underway, what kind of sense does it make to fire the Commander?  With all the legislative nonsense that has occurred of recent, I think people blame Obama way too much–Congress is to blame for the vast majority of our problems.

With respect to foreign policy, Obama acts with a restrained neo-conservative strategy full of violence but less stupidity.  He is a scholar of the world with empathy, but unafraid to fire missiles and send in the SEALS…and go to war.  He has adopted responsible Republican tactics, so any argument that he’s soft on terror is entirely cynical and political.

WIth respect to the Supreme Court, it goes without saying that a more liberal court is a good thing.  If you are socially liberal, you understand that the Court is where those decisions get made at the end of the day.  Romney will nominate a smart, but potentially draconian conservative justice with lasting implications for civil rights and other important topics.

In the end, these men are not all that different and to assume there is a fundamental divide just isn’t true.  THe question is, do we fire our guy after his first try?  Just as things seem to be improving?  Or do we throw it all away and let Romney take the credit for someone else’s leadership?

Again, Obama wins Ohio.”

———-
Whatever your views, if you do not exercise your right to vote you really do not have much of a basis to argue about the outcome.  When all is said and done, I do hope as a country we can try to come together.  That does not mean abandoning ones principles just for unity.  It does however mean, finding ways in which, given the realities of a divided and diverse nation we can come focus on the big problems that need big solutions.  Stop politicizing everything and everyone.  Our nation cannot continue on its current trajectory and expect to maintain or grow our standard of living, our standing in the world or create opportunities for the next generations.  Stop pretending we can leave “as is” the social programs put in place in a different day and age when in fact they cannot continue as is.  That is not political.  Stop spending more than we take in.  That is not political.  Possible?
———
There a people out there who are indeed thinking along these lines. I recommend checking out Dave Maney and his recent piece in the Denver Post, and this CLAYTON M. CHRISTENSEN – NY Times piece “A Capitalist’s Dilemma, Whoever Wins on Tuesday”
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Back to the family, exercising our duty as citizens, this morning at 6am at the polling station in Carmel, IN – Anitra and my oldest daughter Sierra (who got to vote for her first time today).  Pretty cool.
  
Well that about sums it up.. the family disagrees.  Do any of you have family members this divergent?  I may add more family predictions here as they trickle in.  Stay tuned…

Serving The Greatest Generation

I came across this opinion piece I published in 2003 in Beverage Media’s Beverage Journals nationally. This was as my role as Chairman of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America WSWA and was meant to spur debate.

 

” Americans living in assisted living today typically are the only group outside of under 21 year olds who have to “sneak a drink” in a “brown bag”.  These great citizens who have contributed immensely to society and who are used to living a “good life” are underserved.”

 

Thought I’d re-post. Let me know if you have thoughts.

Serving the Greatest Generations by JSW v

The Choice of Ryan

I’m rarely surprised for the better by most politicians these days. Every once in a while, we get to observe a bold move by one that provides hope. Romney’s selection of Ryan falls into this category for me. I will refer to my blog post from February 2010 in which I asked the question – “Is Anybody Series in Washington?” I stand by my post from then.

I will differ with both parties on many issues. In the Democratic platform, there will be a complete lack of seriousness with regard to the size and scope of government and its role in our lives. In the case of the Republican platform, I’m certain there will be far too much government positioning on private social issues that ought to always remain beyond the reach of government (My Libertarian friends will concur). That said, selecting Ryan shows me there can be a serious approach to our #1 problem in the U.S.; that our government has become too big and is unsustainable. Ryan’s plan is no radical plan, it simply slows the growth of spending. I would be in favor of a much more radical approach. Not withstanding the ridiculous political attacks already occurring, I look forward to the clash of ideas as we approach the election.
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Here is a link to the actual House Budget Plan led by Ryan… read it before believing what you hear about it…. http://budget.house.gov/fy2013prosperity/

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