Within weeks, the Americans were working alongside nations such as Russia and Iran to help FILA, the international governing body, craft their strategy for both a key IOC meeting in Russia in May and Sunday’s final vote.
FILA president Raphael Martinetti resigned and was replaced by Serbian Nenad Lalvoic. The sport also added a pair of weight classes for women — taking one each away from men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman disciplines — and tweaked the rules to reward aggressive and more appealing wrestling.
The best-of-three periods format was also scrapped in favor of two, three-minute frames with cumulative scoring. The unpopular ball draw format to start overtime was also scrapped.
“We have to stay true to the commitment of making the sport easy to understand ... we have to remain committed to ensure the sport is fair,” USA Wrestling executive director Rich Bender said. “We have to make sure we have a television-friendly product.”
Scherr said that USA Wrestling will continue to look at changes in the months ahead, including tweaks to the presentation of the sport along with possible changes to uniforms and venues.
Several changes were enacted, and Burroughs is among those who believe the new rules have already made the sport more exciting.
USA Wrestling has vowed to keep improving the sport so there’s no concern about its Olympic future.
“It’s just a start. But it’s a good start,” Gable said.