The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

April 23, 2013

Angle wants to save Olympic wrestling

JOHNSTOWN — Kurt Angle wants to help save wrestling.

No, not professional wrestling, the craft that the 11-time world champion has mastered since the 1990s. Between Angle’s employer, Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling; his former employer, World Wrestling Entertainment, along with independent and regional promotions, the sports entertainment strain of wrestling is doing just fine.

Amateur wrestling at the Olympic Games is what Angle – a Pittsburgh native and a gold medalist at the 1996 Atlanta games in the heavyweight freestyle wrestling tournament – is trying to save.

Since it was announced in February that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was dropping wrestling from the Summer Games, starting in 2020, Angle has been proactive in the movement to ensure the sport’s return for 2020 and in future Olympiads.

It’s something he can’t do on his own, though he’s willing to do what he can to help the cause – even wearing a T-shirt with the text “Save Wrestling 2020” on it while appearing on TNA programming. 

“I’m just a small part of it,” Angle said. “There’s so many people bigger than me. It’s just my passion for wrestling, and for the IOC to even think about dropping it was a slap in the face to the wrestling community. It’s a fight to keep it (as an Olympic sport).”

Angle praised the direction that FILA – wrestling’s international governing body – has taken in regrouping since the IOC’s decision while voicing support for interim president Nenad Lalovic.

“He’s a great politician,” Angle said of Lalovic. “He knows eight different languages. He’s going to be able to get the job done for us.”

Angle was in the area on Tuesday to promote TNA’s upcoming live taping of “Impact Wrestling” at Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex adjacent to the campus at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

His day included a stop at Value-It on Scalp Avenue in Richland Township to sign autographs and meet fans in advance of the taping.

The opportunity for Angle to perform in the ring in the region he was raised in is one he cherishes each time a tour stops in the area.

“You would think that (TNA) would have booked a TV event for Pittsburgh, but they didn’t,” Angle said. “There’s a reason. It’s a very strong community of wrestling fans outside of Pittsburgh in Johnstown, Indiana and Altoona. Obviously you’ll get the fans from Pittsburgh to come, but it just speaks volumes for the area. I’m not just a Pittsburgher, I’m a Western Pennsylvania boy, so I do consider this my homecoming.

“The people here are my family and friends and this is the area I’m proud of.” 

The live taping will air Thursday night at 8 p.m. on Spike TV. Bell time for the event is 7 p.m.

Angle’s amateur wrestling resume includes a PIAA championship in 1987 while at Mount Lebanon High School, a pair of NCAA Division I titles won at Clarion University and a 1995 FILA World Wrestling Championships gold medal. Keeping wrestling on the Olympic docket for the 2020 Summer Games is the focus of Angle and a developing groundswell from international wrestling unions and fans.

“I’d say everybody’s come together, thank God,” Angle said. “We’ve kind of united. We’ve got countries like the United States of America and Iran agreeing on a term. That’s wrestling. It’s beginning to pull nations closer together to save wrestling and bring wrestling back to the Olympics for 2020.

“In many ways, it’s been a positive reflection on how countries can come together, even when they’re at odds politically. They come together on one simple thing and that’s the oldest sport in the world, wrestling.”

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • Pirates 0720 Pirates rally to keep sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsburgh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
    Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • LAG 0720 AAABA League playoffs: Laurel Auto Group moves closer to advancing

    Second-seeded Laurel Auto Group fell behind early against No. 3 Berkley Hills Renegades on Sunday afternoon at Roxbury Park. But Laurel’s players didn’t lose their composure.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Urtz, Pope lead AAABA League award votes

    Logan Urtz hadn’t fielded a ground ball as an infielder or swung a bat in a game for a couple seasons.
    But you can’t take the former infielder out of a starting pitcher.

    July 20, 2014

  • Blairsville pegged as team to beat

    As Heritage Conference football coaches assembled at United High School during Wednesday’s media day event at Thomas J. Madill Field, the near-consensus opinion is that Blairsville – under second-year coach Rick Artley – is going to be the team to beat once the season begins on Aug. 29.
    After the Bobcats, the forecasted picture gets a little foggier.

    July 30, 2014

  • tim Baserunning blunder helps Giants end six-game losing streak

    Clint Hurdle says he and a pal often marvel over how there’s always something new to see at a baseball game.
    Too bad for Hurdle. What he watched Wednesday wrecked the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 7-5 loss.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • shazier Rookie linebacker making impression at Steelers camp

    Ryan Shazier grew up the football equivalent of a Rorschach test.
    Some coaches looked at Shazier’s 6-foot-1 frame with plenty of room to grow and saw a defensive end.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Greene’s No. 75 will be retired at Ravens game

    Joe Greene’s No. 75 now belongs to the ages.
    The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Wednesday the team will retire the Hall of Fame defensive end’s number during a game against the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 2.

    July 30, 2014

  • levon Bell planning to do better

    Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw.
    There were times during his rookie season when the Pittsburgh Steelers running back would place his hand on an offensive lineman’s back and wait patiently for the hole to open.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boilers advance in Pony series

    July 29, 2014

  • Martella’s Pharmacy, LAG name AAABA pickup players

    July 28, 2014

AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide