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USAW Director Rich Bender On 2010 Worlds Performance
Concerning the results from the 2010 FILA World Championships, our country and sport deserve better results and I assure you that our organization will work tirelessly towards that goal. The path will not be easy and challenges are significant, but in the weeks to come each of our coaches will be distributing detailed plans outlining that path. High Performance Plans currently exist, but they must be scrutinized and necessary changes made. I, as the Executive Director, USA Wrestling as an organization and certainly the athletes own the results from this past World Championships and we will do all in our power to move TEAM USA forward. USA Wrestling appreciates the opportunity to respond to the recent blog by Flowrestling?s Martin Floreani concerning a wide range of topics and questions about our organization, our Olympic-level program and our role as the national governing body for wrestling in the United States. Most of the questions and comments in Martin?s blog can be answered in a simple and direct way, which is my intention in this piece.
1. USA Wrestling Board of Directors ? Information on the Board of Directors of the organization is readily available. The composition of the Board is determined by our by-laws, which is posted on the organization website, TheMat.com. A list of current Board members, all who are volunteers, is on the website, and is published in every issue of the official magazine, USA Wrestler. There is a system of elections for the volunteer officers of USA Wrestling, as well as positions on the standing committees, which are spelled out by our by-laws. Officers serve two year terms, which are voted upon by the members of the Board of Directors.
The results of the 2010 Board elections and other decisions made by the Board were posted right after the most recent Board meeting on August 23 on TheMat.com, and also sent to the wrestling community through our social media outlets including Facebook and Twitter. As with anything which USA Wrestling does, our national staff and volunteer leadership are always available to answer questions about our governance which comes from our membership, as well as the wrestling community in general. We will continue to strive to communicate this information to the wrestling community, and are willing to take suggestions on ways that we can do this even more efficiently.
In regard to the bylaw change approved by USA Wrestling?s Board of Directors concerning presidential terms, the purpose of this proposal was to allow the opportunity to expand our international influence through this position. Only the term of the president was extended, to a maximum of four two-year terms. Jim Ravannack was re-elected by the Board in August in an election which included another long-time Board member who ran for the position. Among the assets which Ravannack brings to his position is successful business leadership, a long-time record of generous contributions to the sport, considerable support of our Olympic effort through the Gator Wrestling Club and leadership on the grassroots level as a State Chairperson.
2. Evaluation of leadership ? USA Wrestling?s Executive Director Rich Bender is evaluated on an annual basis by the Executive Committee of the organization, who he is accountable to according to its bylaws. All of USA Wrestling staff members are evaluated twice a year by their supervisors, under the overall supervision of Rich Bender. The election process is the method of evaluation of USA Wrestling volunteer officers and a majority of the Board member positions. Those who serve the organization and sport well can be elected to positions of leadership. USA Wrestling, going back to its initial formation in the late 1960?s, is based upon a democratic system where its leadership, as well as its program oversight, is voted upon. Again, anybody with questions about this process is encouraged to contact USA Wrestling at any time.
3. World Championship results ? The complete results of the 2010 World Wrestling Championships in Moscow are readily available through TheMat.com. In review, the USA placed fifth in the women?s freestyle competition, 13th in the Greco-Roman competition and 22nd in the men?s freestyle competition. There were two U.S. medalists this year, silver medalist Elena Pirozhkova at 63 kg and bronze medalist Tatiana Padilla at 55 kg in women?s freestyle. Both the women?s freestyle team and the Greco-Roman team had higher team placements than the year before, with the women moving from sixth in 2009 to fifth in 2010, and Greco-Roman moving from 15th in 2009 to 13th in 2010. Men?s freestyle had its lowest team placement at the World Championships, and dropped from seventh last year to 22nd this year. USA Wrestling reported this information from Moscow on a daily basis, through its audio broadcasts, its articles and videos on TheMat.com and through its social media.
USA Wrestling has higher expectations for all three of our Olympic-level teams. It is an organizational goal to win World Team titles in all three styles. We have won World Team titles in the past with men?s freestyle (1993, 1995), women?s freestyle (1999) and Greco-Roman (2007). It is our goal to win more in the future.
There is direct responsibility for U.S. team performance within USA Wrestling, as well as in its role as a national governing body within the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC). Our elite program is directed by National Teams Director Mitch Hull. Each of the Olympic styles is directed by the National Coach for that style: Steve Fraser (Greco-Roman), Terry Steiner (women?s freestyle), Zeke Jones (men?s freestyle). In addition, USA Wrestling is directly accountable to the USOC for its performance and elite program development. For every four-year Olympic cycle, USA Wrestling submits a High Performance Plan to the U.S. Olympic Committee for each style, a document which goes through extensive review and evaluation. Every year, the High Performance Plan must be updated and reviewed again. USOC funding for wrestling is based upon this extensive planning and review process. These documents can be reviewed upon request at any time. I can guarantee you that all of those involved in our Olympic programs are already hard at work to improve on the U.S. performance at the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Olympic Games. That is what they are hired to do, and they work tirelessly towards the high goals that they have set for our programs.
4. Living Legends within wrestling ? We encourage Flowrestling to talk directly with our wrestling legends and leaders about USA Wrestling as well as our elite wrestling programs. Of those Martin mentions in his blog, John Smith, Tom and Terry Brands, Kevin Jackson and Dan Gable were in Moscow with Team USA as part of the delegation. John Smith and Terry Brands were official World Team Coaches in freestyle. The others who are mentioned are also involved in many ways and are good sources of information. Each truly care about the U.S. performance on the international level, and that is why they take the time and effort to get involved. They are the kind of leaders who will get involved in helping our teams to have better performances, and we count on them for their input and support. Please ask them what they think; we expect that they will give their honest opinions and ideas, all which will make our program stronger.
5. Responsibility as national governing body ? As the recognized national governing body for wrestling in the United States, USA Wrestling has specific responsibilities as spelled out by the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, which has been approved by the U.S. Congress. USA Wrestling must also function within its responsibilities as a member of FILA, the international wrestling federation. In addition, the organization is governed by an approved set of bylaws.
USA Wrestling has a mission statement, vision statement and set of values, which are board-approved and are listed below.
Mission Statement: USA Wrestling, guided by the Olympic spirit, provides quality opportunities for its members to achieve its full human and athletic potential.
Vision Statement: USA Wrestling will strive to be the World's best Olympic Sports Organization.
Values: Responsibility, Integrity, Dedication, Honesty, Accountability, Respect
The organization also has four board-approved business objectives: Build the Brand; Grow the Base; Achieve Sustained Competitive Excellence; Network the Wrestling Community Online.
All of this is based upon a commitment to serve our members and the overall wrestling community by providing the best wrestling programs available at all levels. I can assure you that our volunteer leadership and professional staff are dedicated to this commitment on a daily basis. We welcome any and all input from those who care about wrestling and share our desire to improve and expand the sport.
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