DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has launched a campaign to keep wrestling an Olympic sport after the International Olympic Committee announced its recommendation this week to drop it.

Branstad said at a Friday news conference that Iowans were in a unique position to fight the decision because of the sport’s ties to the state. He noted the nearby Iowa State High School Wrestling Tournament, an event that has brought tens of thousands to Des Moines this week.

Accompanying Branstad were 1972 Olympic wrestling gold medalist and Iowan Dan Gable, University of Iowa associate head wrestling coach Terry Brands and University of Northern Iowa wrestling coach Doug Schwab.

Branstad and all members of Iowa’s congressional delegation signed a letter to the IOC describing the importance of wrestling to Iowans and the Olympics.

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