DES MOINES, Iowa —
The IOC recommended in February that wrestling be left out of the Olympics in 2020. But last month it was one of three sports selected to compete for the last provisional spot in the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games, along with squash and a combined bid from baseball/softball. A final vote is expected by the IOC general assembly during its meeting in Buenos Aires in September.
Ruffalo attended the exhibition between the U.S., Russia and Iran in New York in May and he also shot a public service announcement for CPOW that was released Tuesday.
"It shows that the sport has motivated people to move to keep it in the Olympics and motivated enough people to push the IOC to reconsider," Ruffalo said of the push to save Olympic wrestling.
Ruffalo, who was nominated an Academy Award for his work in "The Kids Are All Right," has long held a personal connection to wrestling. Ruffalo's father, Frank, was a standout wrestler in his youth, and he encouraged his son to compete as well. Ruffalo wrestled from seventh through 11th grade in Wisconsin and Virginia Beach, Va.
"It was profound for me," Ruffalo said. "It was probably the most — as far as training for the world, my career and success — wrestling played a big part in that. The amount of discipline and determination and will and just moxie that you have to have to be a wrestler."
Ruffalo said he put on 30 pounds to play Schultz, who won gold at the Los Angeles Games at 74 kilograms. Ruffalo, Tatum and others worked with several members of USA Wrestling in an effort to accurately portray the sport.
"They really opened up their arms to me once they saw I could really wrestle," Ruffalo said. "They're a very tight-knit group of people that are protective of their sport ... it's just a classy, classy, classy group of people."