Wrestling ignites social media charge to stay in Olympics

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Richard Immel (USA Wrestling)

On Feb. 12 the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board recommended wrestling be dropped as a core sport in the Olympics. Since that day wrestling has mounted a dynamic social media charge engaging hundreds of thousands of wrestling supporters from around the world. 

In the morning hours of Feb. 12, the day of the initial IOC recommendation, USA Wrestling created the “Keep Wrestling in the Olympics” Facebook page. By days end the Facebook page had received nearly 75,000 likes. 

Similarly, FILA, the international governing body for wrestling, has gained over 100,000 likes on its Facebook page since Feb. 12. 

After compiling likes Facebook likes from FILA, USA Wrestling, CPOW and a fan created Save Olympic Wrestling Facebook page, the sport of wrestling is supported on Facebook by 597,899 individuals. 

Fan growth has also spread to Twitter with wrestling being followed by 121,149 individuals via the FILA, USA Wrestling, CPOW and Save Olympic Wrestling fan twitter handles. 

When compared to the two sports it will be competing against for a place on the 2020 and 2024 Olympic programme, wrestling has 72% more likes on Facebook and 92% more followers on Twitter than squash and 80% more likes on Facebook and 91% more followers on Twitter than Baseball/Softball. 

Continuing in the effort to grow and modernize the sport, wrestling launched a series of Google+ Hangouts On Air featuring some of the top names in the wrestling community from around the world, including FILA President Nenad Lalovic. 11,948 viewers spanning 87 countries tuned in to the Keep Olympic Wrestling Google+ Hangout On Air events. 

Wrestling supporters have been able to show their dedication to the sport by participating in the #TakeAStance social media initiative. Since Aug. 1 Supporters have been asked to take pictures of themselves in a wrestling stance and send them out on social media using the hashtag #TakeAStance. Over 1,000 #TakeAStance photos have been sent in from across the world to support Olympic wrestling. 

The morning of Sunday, Sept. 8 wrestling’s Olympic fate will be decided by the IOC general assembly. One thing the IOC will not be able to question when it goes to vote is the passion and dedication of the wrestling community.

USA Wrestling has released a social media infographic outlining wrestling's social media fight to remain in the Olympics. 

PDF DOWNLOAD: Wrestling Social Media Inforgaphic