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World Championships coming to Las Vegas in 2015

Gary Abbott

2/19/2013
Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

The Executive Board of FILA, the international wrestling federation, has selected USA Wrestling to serve as host for the 2015 World Wrestling Championships. The city which will host the event is Las Vegas, Nev., considered one of the most popular destinations in the world. It has been scheduled to be hosted in September of 2015 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

This is a tremendously important event in international wrestling, as it serves as the first qualifying event for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as well as the event in which the largest number of athletes earn a spot at the Olympics.

Competition in all three Olympic styles of international wrestling will be held: men's freestyle, women's freestyle and Greco-Roman.

The 2015 World Wrestling Championships will be presented by FILA, USA Wrestling, the United States Olympic Committee and Las Vegas Events.

A number of other nations bid on the opportunity to host the 2015 World Championships, with the strongest of these bids coming from the Olympic city of Sochi, Russia. Other bid cities included Panama City, Panama; New Delhi, India and Tehran, Iran.

"The new FILA will embrace the strengths of our sport, both our long history and our desire to continue to improve ourselves. USA Wrestling has proven itself as one of the top national federations in the world. We trust them with one of our most sacred and important properties, the 2015 World Championships, which is the qualifying event for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Hosting the World Championships in Las Vegas is certainly a positive step forward in our quest to show the world the relevance of wrestling and help entrench our sport on the Olympic program," said Acting FILA President Nenad Lalovic.

"USA Wrestling is excited to receive the bid to host the 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas, Nev. We believe it will be a historic event for international wrestling. We have assembled a strong team that will ensure that the World Championships in Las Vegas will be an amazing success and will display the excitement and popularity of international wrestling worldwide," said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender.

"Las Vegas has a long and storied history with amateur wrestling date back to the 1970's," said Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events. "The 2015 World Wrestling Championships are a culmination of decades of support for wrestling, which includes the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, 2007 World Team Trials, Cliff Keen Invitational and the U.S. National Championships. We look forward to hosting the top international wrestlers and playing host to fans from around the world."

"Las Vegas will provide a great backdrop to showcase the sport of wrestling to a worldwide audience," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. "We're excited to team with USA Wrestling and FILA in bringing this important event to the United States and we look forward to hosting wrestlers from all over the globe as they look to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games."

The United States has hosted five previous Senior World Wrestling Championships. The most recent World Championships were held in world famous Madison Square Garden in New York City in 2003, and featured men's and women's freestyle wrestling. This was also the first qualifying event for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games for wrestling. Record crowds attended the World Championships in New York City, and it was regarded internationally as one of the most successful World Wrestling Championships ever held.

Prior to that, the United States hosted the World Freestyle Wrestling Championships in 1995 at the Omni Arena in Atlanta, Ga., another major success in terms of attendance and international interest. It was a qualifying event for the 1996 Olympic Games, also hosted in Atlanta.

The 1979 World Championships in freestyle and Greco-Roman were held in San Diego, Calif. Previous World Wrestling Championships were also held in Toledo, Ohio in 1962 and 1966.

In addition, the United States organized the 2001 World Championships at Madison Square Garden in New York City in all three styles. When terrorists attacked New York City and Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2011, just days prior to the World Championships, the event was postponed then relocated to other cities. In an act of international solidarity, USA Wrestling was awarded the World Championships in 2003.

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