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In February 2013, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)recommended that wrestling, which dates back to the original Olympics in Ancient Greece, be dropped as a core sport for the 2020 Olympics.

The Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling (CPOW) is determined to save Olympic wrestling. “We have engaged many of the most connected and brightest minds in our sport, an all-star leadership group. We have a great opportunity to show the world why wrestling belongs on the Olympic program,” said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender, who is also a CPOW member.

CPOW is chaired by businessman Bill Scherr, World champion and Olympic medalist inwrestling. He previously helped spearhead the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid.

Jim Scherr, an Olympic wrestler and former CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, is CPOW’s co-chair. Jim was selected by wrestling’s international governing body, FILA, to represent the sport at the IOC Executive Board meeting in May 2013. After the presentation by Jim and his team, the Executive Board voted to make wrestling one of three sports to vie for a slot in the 2020 Olympic program.

Mike Novogratz, president of Fortress Investment Group and former partner at Goldman Sachs, serves as the group’s spokesperson. Novogratz, a former wrestler for Princeton University and helicopter pilot for the U.S. Army, was a Team Leader for the 2012 U.S. Olympic wrestling team. He is also Chairman of Beat the Streets, a non-profit organization that helps urban youth realize their full human and athletic potential through wrestling.

John Bardis is the Director of Development and Finance. Bardis wrestled for the University of Arizona and was a Team Leader for the 2008 U.S. Olympic wrestling team. In 1999 he founded MedAssets, a hospital financial software and services provider, and continues to serve as its CEO. Bardis is also on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the national anti-doping organization for the Olympics.

The committee’s Chief of Staff is Wes Battle, a veteran of the U.S. Navy and former wrestler for the University of Virginia.

Mike Rosati, U.S. Coast Guard veteran and former wrestler for Rider University, is Chief of Operations.

The other Committee members are Peter Ackerman, founder of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict; Billy Baldwin, actor and former wrestler for Binghamton University; Andy Barth, chairman of Capital Guardian Trust Company and former wrestler for Columbia University; Bruce Baumgartner, four-time Olympic medalist and Director of Athletics for Edinboro University;Clarissa Chun, two-time Olympian and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist; Mike DerGarabedian, attorney and former wrestler for the University of Michigan; Roger Frizell, senior vice president of corporate communications for Carnival Corporation and former wrestler for the University of Oklahoma; Dan Gable, Olympic gold medalist and longtime coach at the University of Iowa; Rulon Gardner, Olympic gold medalist; Jeff Levitetz, founder of Purity Wholesale Grocers and former wrestler for the University of Alabama; Art Martori, founder of the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club, former President of USA Wrestling, and former wrestler for Arizona State University; Kerry McCoy, Olympian and head wrestling coach at the University of Maryland; Max Meltzer, businessman and former wrestler for Harvard University; James Ravannack, President of USA Wrestling; Tommy Rowlands, businessman and former wrestler for Ohio State University; John Smith, two-time Olympic gold medalist and head wrestling coach at Oklahoma State University; Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and former wrestling coach at Arizona State University; and Noel Thompson, CEO of Thompson Global and Team Leader for the 2013 U.S. Women’s World Wrestling Team.


To communicate with a member of CPOW, please email Mike Rosati at mrosati(at)usawrestling.org or call (719) 598-8181.

Bill Scherr, Glenville, Ill.

Jim Scherr, Colorado Springs, CO

Mike Novogratz, New York, N.Y.

Director of Development & Finance
John Bardis, Alpharetta, Ga.

Chief of Staff
Wes Battle, Washington, D.C.

Chief of Operations
Mike Rosati, Hamilton, NJ

Committee Members
Peter Ackerman, Washington, D.C.
Billy Baldwin Santa Barbara, Calif.
Andy Barth, San Marino, Calif.
Bruce Baumgartner, Edinboro, Pa.
Rich Bender, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Clarissa Chun, Columbia, Mo.
Mike DerGarabedian, Rockville Ctr, N.Y.
Roger Frizzell, Kingston, Okla.
Dan Gable, Iowa City, Iowa
Rulon Gardner, Logan, Utah
Jeff Levitetz, Boca Raton, Fla.
Art Martori, Phoenix, Ariz.
Kerry McCoy, College Park, Md.
Max Meltzer, Washington, DC
James Ravannack, Metairie, La.
Tommy Rowlands, Columbus, OH
John Smith, Stillwater, Okla.
Lee Roy Smith, Stillwater, Okla.
Noel Thompson, New York, N.Y.

The mission of the Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling is to insure that wrestling remains as a core sport of the Olympic Games.

We intend to accomplish this mission by:

  • Working with FILA and the international wrestling community to insure that wrestling will remain a core Olympic sport.
  • Mobilizing and energizing the wrestling community and the American public to support our mission.
  • Leading the effort for solicitation and allocation of volunteer and financial resources for the preservation of Olympic Wrestling
  • Raising awareness of the positive values and contributions of wrestling to the Olympic movement
  • Working with FILA and the international wrestling community for the continued development and modernization of wrestling
  • Joining with like-minded groups globally to unite our efforts to preserve Olympic Wrestling.