Team Georgia presents $25,240.75 to CPOW during Rally4Wrestling event over Labor Day

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Gary Abbott (USA Wrestling)

In early August, Team Georgia, USA Wrestling’s state association, launched its “Countdown 2020” campaign in efforts to raise money to donate to the Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling (CPOW) for the Keep Olympic Wrestling effort.

Team Georgia pledged to match every donation made up to $12,500 in an effort to help raise $25,000 by Labor Day Weekend. The idea was to raise the $25,000 in 20 days and 20 hours, sticking with the “2020 Vision” theme. It was an aggressive goal, but one that the wrestling community in Georgia was ready and willing to make to support Olympic wrestling.

Although it took a lot of effort and energy and went right down to the wire, Team Georgia met its goal. 

During Rally4Wrestling held at the Cooler in Alpharetta, Ga., Team Georgia presented a check for $25,240.75 to CPOW, in front of the many people attending this popular event.

National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones was there for the check presentation. Besides Anthony and his wife Cheryl, the Georgia board was represented by Ron and Melody Demonico, Rob and Cheryl Horton and Mike Michade. Joining the celebration were a number of the wrestlers and coaches involved with Rally4Wrestling.

“We were very excited about supporting Olympic wrestling. Our goal was $25,000 and it wasn’t easy. We raised a lot of it early. We entered the last day at $20,000. It wasn’t until the last hours that we reached our goal. Many people felt good about being able to donate,” said Team Georgia state chairman Anthony Flatt.

Flatt noticed that there was truly wide support for Olympic wrestling, based upon those who stepped up to the challenge.

“A lot of the people and organizations that supported us were outside of wrestling, not just from the wrestling family. The people who donated were not only wrestling moms and dads. They were friends of wrestling. It included many businesses, extended family members and others who heard about our program. For instance, California Pizza Kitchen gave 20% of their guest checks during a specific time to the cause. It is very encouraging that not just wrestling people want to keep wrestling in the Olympics,” said Flatt.

The word got out within the wrestling community, and some of the donations were even from out of state.

“The state of Colorado donated $2,500. They were looking to donate to the Olympic cause, but because we were matching the donation, they chose to get involved with our project. We also heard from some other states,” Flatt said.

In addition, one of the local clubs made an additional donation to the cause, outside of what Team Georgia raised. In addition, there were previous donations made within the state earlier in the year.

“The wrestling community in Georgia gave $35,000 to the cause, which we are very proud of,” said Flatt.

The IOC vote on wrestling’s Olympic future is just days away, but the message that Flatt heard from the donors was about helping wrestling’s future after the vote.

“There is a lot of support. Many people weren’t just concerned about the vote of the IOC, but were looking beyond that. They wanted to support wrestling moving forward,” he said.