The announcement is positive news for the U.S. Olympic Committee and its national governing bodies, including USA Wrestling. Host nations see a considerable increase in the number of medals won when hosting the Games, to go along with expected increases in viewership and ad revenue.
The IOC also announced that former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon would lead the IOC Ethics Commission, which would be responsible for instituting ethical controls over a variety of IOC departments as well as interactions with International Federations. The role could even lead to a fundamental restructuring of how IF's are mandated to run their organizations -- a move that FIFA has already committed to achieving.
Overall, the IOC session (held in Lima) taught the sports community that the antiquated ways of the IOC are being challenged internally and changed through external pressures. There were still disappointments, but overall the organization seems more responsive to the needs of its constituents and willing to tackle issues of impropriety.
This doesn't mean they are without fault, but it is worth taking this as a marker for future progress. How much leeway will Ban Ki-Moon be given to not only suggest, but implement his ideas? Will a relaxation of the bidding process mean lower costs and better management from the overworked staff at the IOC? Will there be continued enforcement of penalties against members proven to be corrupt?
I'd like to think we will see this top-down level of responsibility take hold at the IOC and trickle into member IF's. Everyone, including wrestling, could use fresh ideas and goals to achieve in order to ensure that the world's sports are enjoyed by young and old all around the world.
To your questions …
Kaori Icho after winning gold in Rio (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Q: Is Kaori Icho going to wrestle Helen Maroulis at the Beat the Streets Benefit? Say yes … please!
Foley: Are you sitting down? I have some news that might upset you. As of now it looks like Kaori Icho is going to stay retired. Helen will be back on the mats, but just when is still uncertain.
Icho, you may have seen, is in Iran and from the looks of it she's loving her life. The Iranian Wrestling Federation asked her to help teach wrestlers (and coaches) in Iran on how best to lead a women's wrestling program. The two-week experience is a great cross-cultural experience for Icho and a platform for her to learn more about coaching.
She is looking to travel more often, so maybe she will come to Los Angeles and do a clinic. I've also heard that she's looking for the chance to coach in an English-speaking country.
Q: Which team has the most fickle fan base (one minute they love you, the next they hate you)?
Foley: Though you might mean "me" as Tim Foley, I'll go ahead and take this towards a more productive, less self-reflective place.
The team(s) with the ficklest fan bases tend to be those that pop into, and then out of, the top 25. Programs like Penn State and Ohio State have more-or-less cemented their following by producing team and individual national championships. Yes, their fans get upset, but they generally don't lose touch with the program in part because they enjoy the winning.
Programs in and out of the top 25 tend to see a loss of fans if they aren't creating "first-ever" outcomes. I know that at Virginia there was a time when the fans were very excited and times when they fell off. Currently the attitude is positive and trending upwards with more programs and meet-and-greets for alumni and fans. Still, it's not impossible that a school like Virginia, but one that is currently down on their luck, faces lackluster support from those friends of the program.
Luckily, wrestling has a tight-knit community that continues to grow and connect online. Programs that are willing to put in the work to "friendraise" can ensure themselves an increase in gift giving through cash, in-kind and even simply time.
Video on the pre-World Championship training camp last month in Finland
Beauty is a Beast
One of the best highlight videos you'll ever see …
Q: With Ohio State getting Joey McKenna and Penn State losing Nick Suriano, can the Buckeyes win the team title in 2018? Do you still consider Penn State the favorite?
-- Mike C.
Foley: Yes. Ohio State has the ability to win five weight classes. Penn State has the ability to win five weight classes. Both programs are well coached and trending towards even better 2017-2018 campaigns.
That I think Ohio State CAN win an NCAA title does not mean that they will. However, Tom Ryan is as good a leader as any in the nation and whoever he puts on the mat will perform. You'd have to give them a 40 percent chance at the title, especially with Iowa buffed up and making the national title a three-way race.
Ohio State NCAA title contenders: Nathan Tomasello, Joey McKenna, Bo Jordan, Myles Martin, Kyle Snyder
Penn State NCAA title contenders: Zain Retherford, Jason Nolf, Vincenzo Joseph, Mark Hall, Bo Nickal
If you add in Kollin Moore as a title contender at 197 pounds then you may even give Ohio State the advantage.