The 2018 Men's freestyle World Cup (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
USA Wrestling is pleased to announce that United World Wrestling has awarded both the 2022 and 2023 Men's and Women's Freestyle World Cup events to Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa. The 2022 competition will be held December 10-11, and the 2023 competition is set for December 9-10.
The World Cup is the annual international dual meet championships. This will be the first time in history that the men's freestyle World Cup and the women's freestyle World Cup events will be held side-by-side.
This will also be the second time that the men's freestyle World Cup has been held in the Iowa City area, as the 2018 World Cup was hosted at the world-famous Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the campus of the University of Iowa in Iowa City.
This will be the first time that the United States has ever hosted the Women's World Cup.
"USA Wrestling is excited to once again bring one of the most important wrestling competitions on the planet to the Coralville/Iowa City community, which is truly an international wrestling hotbed. We are extremely pleased that we will be able to showcase the world's best men's and women's freestyle wrestlers in the same location. The atmosphere will be electric and fans will not want to miss this action," said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender.
The Men's Freestyle World Cup features the top five men's freestyle wrestling teams in the world plus an all-world team, while the Women's Freestyle World Cup features the top five women's freestyle wrestling teams in the world, plus an all-world team.
The all-world teams will be comprised of athletes whose teams finished outside the top five in the team race at the World Championships.
Those teams will be determined based upon the team results of the Senior World Championships events earlier each year. The 2022 Senior World Championships are set for Belgrade, Serbia, and the 2023 Senior World Championships will be hosted in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
"For the first time in history, the Women's World Cup will be held in the United States. This will also be the first time that the World Cup for both men's and women's freestyle will be held together. I can't think of a better place to host these events than in the state of Iowa, and in the Iowa City/Coralville community. I know that this community appreciates great wrestling. They are in for a spectacular event, with the best teams in the world battling for World dual meet titles," said Terry Steiner, USA Wrestling National Women's Coach.
This will be the 31st time the United States has hosted the men's freestyle World Cup event, the most of any nation. Coralville will become the 10th U.S. city to host the Freestyle World Cup. The other U.S. cities which have hosted the World Cup include Toledo, Ohio (17 times); Los Angeles, Calif. (three times) Chattanooga, Tenn. (twice); Spokane, Wash.(twice); Stillwater, Okla. (twice); Baltimore, Md.; Fairfax, Va., Boise, Idaho and Iowa City, Iowa.
Coralville's new Xtream Arena opened in September 2020, and USA Wrestling has held a number of major events there, including the 2020 Senior Nationals, the 2021 UWW Junior and Senior Nationals, as well as the 2021 High School National Recruiting Showcase and the USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle Nationals.
The local organizing committee is Think Iowa City and the Iowa City Area Sports Commission, which helped host the highly-successful 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials and the 2018 Men's Freestyle World Cup at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Ticket packages for the general public for the 2022 Men's and Women's Freestyle World Cup go on sale on Friday, February 4 at 10:00 a.m. CT. The seating capacity for Xtream Arena for the World Cup will be approximately 5,300. Fans are encouraged to buy immediately, as organizers expect to sell out quickly.
The effort to combine the men's and women's World Cup and bring them to Iowa City has been many years in the making. The Iowa City Area Sports Commission and its leaders came up with concept shortly after the 2018 World Cup and worked with USA Wrestling to make this vision a reality.
Local leaders Josh Schamberger and Luke Eustice went to United World Wrestling headquarters to meet with its staff and pitch the idea, which was very well received. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in 2020, the project was put on hold during the shutdown.
This year, a revised proposal was presented to United World Wrestling, which agreed to award the events to Coralville, Iowa.
"The Iowa City Area Sports Commission has made significant investments into girls and women's wrestling this past decade. In so many ways, this combined World Cup is an extension of this effort. This inaugural Men's and Women's Freestyle World Cup will reverberate across the wrestling globe. We couldn't be more honored to be the community chosen to set the bar for how this event should look and run for decades to come. And quite honestly, we aim for that bar to actually never be reached outside of Iowa City, Iowa…Wrestling Town, USA," said Josh Schamberger, President of Think Iowa City.