The month of May has been designated as World Wrestling Month, and on May 31, the U.S.A. national women's wrestling team will compete against Ukraine and Canada at the Gale Centre in Niagara Falls, Canada.
The event is being billed as "Battle at the Falls."
A familiar face will be in the U.S.A. corner as Fredonia's Alex Conti will be an assistant coach in the event.
"I think it's a great honor," Conti said. "I think it's as big an honor as anyone can have. This means so much to our sport. I was really excited when they asked me. It is important to our sport and our country. It's important to the world."
The event will be the third event of the month as Los Angeles held an event earlier in May. And New York City recently held a similar event titled "Rumble at the Rails" at Grand Central Station. That event was a sellout crowd, and Conti is hoping the event May 31 does the same.
"We want to promote wrestling and change the IOC's decision to eliminate wrestling from the 2020 Olympics, showing there is worldwide unity," Conti noted. "It's wrestling. Every country has the capability of sending a wrestler to the Olympics. They need to see the wrestling world can do things the diplomatic world can't. Wrestling bridges gaps politicians can't. Iran, Russia Japan, China, Ukraine all wrestle. Where we might have political issues, the world still comes together to compete in wrestling and there is sportsmanship as well."
According to http://battleatthefalls.blogspot.ca/, among the U.S. team members is 2012 World champion, 2010 World silver medalist and 2012 Olympian Elena Pirozhkova at 63 kg. Pirozhkova has won two University World titles.
Two other medalists from the 2012 World Championships, which were held in Strathcona County, Canada, include silver medalist Helen Maroulis at 55 kg and bronze medalist Alyssa Lampe at 48 kg. Both were medalists at the Junior World Championships earlier in their career.
Veronica Carlson, a past Junior World silver medalist, will compete at 67 kg, and two-time Junior World bronze medalist Alli Ragan will wrestle at 59 kg.
Two-time World Team member Jessica Medina will wrestle at 51 kg, and young star Brittany Roberts will compete at 72 kg. Also on the U.S. roster is past U.S. Open champion Erin Clodgo at 63 kg.
"They're making it a pretty big event, attaching other things to it," Conti said. "I am hoping there is a nice big crowd so they can publicize wrestling around the world. There are people interested in our sport and who support our sport. There are people who aren't happy with the decision of the IOC to eliminate the most historic sport. Fan support would be greatly appreciated. It's very important to our sport. We would like Canada's event to be as fantastic as the New York City event was."