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Dan Gable: It’s time for certainties in international wrestling
Editor’s Note: In its battle to keep wrestling in the Olympics, the international governing body of the sport — FILA — announced that May would be World Wrestling Month. This includes a late May event in St. Petersburg, Russia, where, a six-member group, representing FILA, will be among seven international groups meeting with the IOC executive board with hopes of keeping wrestling as one of the Olympics’ core sports. Dan Gable, who won both Olympic gold as a wrestler and a coach, recently sat down with WIN Editor Mike Finn about the importance of this month and wrestling.
WIN: How critical is the month of May to the sport of international wrestling?
GABLE: I think every day is critical now. I just wish I knew what everyone was thinking. When I was an athlete, I was good enough to where I could pretty much control my thoughts and my actions. I like it when there are certainties. I don’t like question marks. As a coach, there were some uncertainties, but you also had a system where you have feedback that you are doing good things most of the time. And with that, you can read the future well.
WIN: From what I understand, FILA will have 20 minutes to make a presentation before the IOC executive board. What should they do in those 20 minutes?
GABLE: Make sure whoever is talking is completely understood and whatever is being said it getting to the listeners. I also hope both FILA and the IOC are on top of their games.
WIN: What does FILA have to overcome in dealing with the IOC?
GABLE: We have been dealing with the Olympic problem since Feb. 12, or longer, starting with the regime of (former FILA president) Raphael Martinetti. All of a sudden our sport is in jeopardy and there is not a lot of control. It’s like when you start to wrestle and there is a lot to learn. You feel like you are starting from scratch and you should not be. If you go out just throwing this or that, you might be wasting a lot of time.
Right now, I don’t see too many certainties whether it’s with FILA or the IOC. I don’t know who really knows what is going on, except the 15 members of the IOC executive board. And they may not know as much as they think they know.
All this information to the wrestling world, this is about competition, pride, money and power between two groups: FILA and the IOC. I don’t think the communication in the world of international sport is good. There is more turmoil in this than the normal sporting area.
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