Burroughs joins effort to try and save Olympic wrestling

Jordan Burroughs emerged from the London Olympics with a gold medal and a reputation as perhaps the world's best wrestler.

Now Burroughs has joined the fight to save his sport's Olympic future.

Burroughs, whose talent and charisma have been crucial for a sport often devoid of flash, has been diligent in his efforts to help reverse the International Olympic Committee's decision to cut the sport from the 2020 Games.

Burroughs is using his notoriety to push the new Committee to Preserve Olympic Wrestling's agenda. Burroughs, a former NCAA champion at Nebraska, has made numerous public speaking appearances and countless interviews and is using his Twitter handle; (at)alliseeisgold, to promote the cause to his nearly 70,000 followers.

"I'm just doing as much as I can to continue to allow this decision to be in the spotlight. I think Americans, as a nation and culture, once something is recognized for a week or two people kind of forget about," Burroughs told The Associated Press by phone on Thursday. "We need to continue to keep it in the public eye."

The wrestling community has mobilized to fight the IOC's decision, which came as a surprise. Wrestling is now among eight sports seeking to fill one vacancy in 2020. The IOC board will meet in May to recommend a short list of sports for inclusion.

FILA, wrestling's international governing body, replaced president Raphael Martinetti with interim head Nenad Lalovic of Serbia within days of the IOC vote. USA Wrestling responded by forming the CPOW, comprised of top figures in the American wrestling community such as Burroughs.

Burroughs said he thinks that wrestling, which has been an Olympic sport since the ancient Games, could use some serious tweaks to adapt to modern viewing habits.

According to Burroughs, an overhaul of the Greco-Roman discipline, where a lack of leg holds can often lead to tedious matches, is being discussed. Burroughs also said the international setup of three, 2-minute periods could be changed to one, 5-minute frame. Tweaks to overtime and its controversial ball-clinch rule, which usually gives the offensive wrestler a huge advantage, are also on the table.

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