Political Heavyweight Makes Pitch For Olympic Wrestling

May 3, 2013

Illinois lawmakers are weighing in on Olympic organizers' decision to drop wrestling from the summer games.

Dennis Hastert

The Illinois House passed a resolution encouraging the International Olympic Committee to reinstate wrestling as an Olympic sport.   The state Senate is poised to do the same.

Former U.S. House Speaker Denny Hastert made a special appearance in Springfield for it.  Hastert was a wrestling coach in Yorkville before he went on to Congress.  He says it's important to give young people the opportunity to reach for an Olympic dream. 

"And for a, I think a wrongheaded decision made by the International Olympic Committee, which is all internal politics of people who didn't have constituencies  -- they happen to be princes, and sisters of kings and sheiks and those types of people --  but we need to send them a message," Hastert said.

The House sponsor of the resolution says there are 17,000 student wrestlers in Illinois, and it's a sport at 18 Illinois universities.

Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky contributed to this report.