Wrestling was one of the founding sports of both the ancient and modern Olympic games, and its low cost also makes it one of the most democratic – the international wrestling federation has 180 member countries, 344 athletes representing 71 countries competed in wrestling in the last Olympic games, and athletes from 29 different countries won medals.
Wrestling was eliminated as a core sport of the Olympic games by the executive board of the International Olympic Committee through a non-transparent process rife with cronyism. The actions of the IOC have tarnished the reputation of the Olympic games and shame the tireless efforts of athletes who have dedicated their lives to pursuing their Olympic dreams.
There are nearly three hundred thousand scholastic wrestlers in the United States, tens of thousands of collegiate and club wrestlers, millions of former wrestlers and millions more who appreciate the history and value the athletic purity of Olympic wrestling. These millions of sports fans were shocked and dismayed by the IOC’s underhanded, elitist decision, and their anger and disappointment will translate to lower ratings for NBC's Olympic coverage.
Comcast/NBC/Universal and its worldwide broadcast partners are the only organizations that can reason with the IOC. NBC is paying in excess of four billion dollars for exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympic games, and the IOC’s actions have decreased the value of these broadcast rights. Comcast/NBC/Universal must insist that the IOC immediately reinstate wrestling as a core sport and institute a rigorous and fully transparent process for evaluating the inclusion of Olympic events that affords representation for all member countries and sports governing bodies. If the IOC fails to do so, NBC should renegotiate its contract with the IOC – through the courts, if necessary.
If Comcast/NBC/Universal fails to call for these changes from the IOC prior to the IOC general assembly in Buenos Aires, Argentina in September of 2013, we will be forced to conclude that NBC is complicit in the IOC’s shady dealings. We will have no other recourse but to call for a boycott of NBC and its affiliates, to notify NBC's advertisers of our boycott and encourage these companies to do business with NBC's competitors, and to cancel Comcast cable and internet services for our homes and businesses.
- Chief Executive Officer, NBCUniversal
Stephen B. Burke
- Chairman, NBC Broadcasting
- Chairman, NBC Sports Group
- VP, Corporate Communications, Comcast
Jennifer Khoury Newcomb
- Director, Corporate Communications, Comcast
- Chairman & CEO, Comcast Corporation
Brian L. Roberts
The IOC executive committee's decision to eliminate wrestling from the Olympic program in 2020 has disillusioned many, both because of the centrality of wrestling to the traditions of the ancient and modern Olympics and because of the subjective and clandestine nature of the process. This decision has damaged the integrity of the Olympic games, which will likely affect viewership moving forward, and compromise your company's ability to achieve the level of return you expect on the 4.38 billion dollar investment you have made for exclusive broadcast rights to the next four Olympic games.
The IOC is a famously insular and exclusive organization that is unlikely to be swayed by the nearly universal public outcry opposing their decision to eliminate wrestling from the Olympic games. However, the IOC can hardly afford to ignore NBC. Please insist that the IOC reconsider this grievous decision and institute an inclusive and transparent process for future deliberations.
Thank you for your dedication to preserving the tradition and integrity of the Olympic movement.
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