Girls’ and women’s wrestling meteoric rise at the Men’s and Women’s Freestyle World Cup in Coralville, Iowa, Sept. 10-11. December

Dymond Guilford (USA) action picture
Dymond Guilford (USA) will be one of the stars at the World Championships in Coralville.

November 23, 2022 – It is a series of happy events – a synergy that is not easy to explain.

Women’s wrestling is growing in popularity around the world, and Iowa City is likely credited with taking it to the next level. Because for the first time ever, men and women will wrestle side by side on an international stage Freestyle World Cup 2022 for men and womenDecember 9-11 at Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa.

The event comes just over a year after the University of Iowa became the first NCAA Division I conference institution to add Power Five women’s wrestling to its sports program, and just months before women’s wrestling becomes a fully sanctioned program.

“It is difficult to define the magnitude of this event,” he said Clarissa Chun, head coach of the UI women’s wrestling team. “It’s so special and unique that the World Championships will be held in Coralville and to know that as this inaugural event for men and women grows it will always be remembered for starting right here.”

Over the past year, the state of Iowa, the University of Iowa, and the world have seen interest in women’s wrestling grow exponentially — from both participants and viewers, said Joshua Schamberger, president of Think Iowa City.

Earlier this year, the Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) has officially sanctioned the sport of wrestling for the 2022-23 season. Nearly 2,200 girls now wrestle at the high school level, according to IGHSAU. Four years ago it was 150.

A two-time Olympian, Chun has witnessed firsthand the rise of the sport she loves. She was one of the most successful international wrestlers on the mat. During her wrestling career, she won five US Open titles, placed fifth at the 2008 Beijing Games and won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Games. In June, Chun was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member – one of only four women to be named Distinguished Members.

“It’s amazing to hear women come up to me and say, ‘I would have liked to fight,'” Chun said. “And that’s sad. You can see that they love the sport and are looking for a place to wrestle. The energy at the Iowa State Girls Wrestling Tournament in January gave me the chills.”

UI Associate Director of Marketing and Multimedia Kelsey Laverdiere has watched the excitement in women’s athletics multiply with the hiring of Chun. She says it has been an honor to support pioneering marketing efforts for women’s athletics and women’s wrestling. “And knowing that this is happening during the 50th anniversary of Title IX makes it even more amazing,” she said.

Laverdiere is the executive producer of the film Unshakeable Faith: The Story of Dr. Christine Grant, which documents Grant’s work to create equal opportunities for women in collegiate athletics and other federally funded institutions. Grant was a Title IX pioneer and UI’s first female athletic director.

During her time at UI, Laverdiere has worked on several World Cups. She says none have generated anywhere near the level of excitement as bringing men and women together for an event at this year’s World Cup. Earlier this month University of Iowa senior Felicity Taylor was chosen to line up the United States for the World Cup. Taylor has a colorful history on the mat – she was a member of the U23 World Team where she placed fifth at the World Championships in Spain.

According to Chun, Taylor is excited about the opportunity to compete for Team USA. “Competing on the world stage in front of her family and friends, being from Iowa and watching it all happen in her own backyard is really special to her.”

With Taylor’s announcement and the inaugural season of UI women’s wrestling fast approaching, Laverdiere sees momentum increasing for girls and women in the sport.

“They will shake the world and help all other women’s teams get the attention and support they deserve,” said Laverdiere.

To learn more about the Freestyle and Women’s Wrestling World Cup and to purchase tickets, visit worldcupiowacity.com

About the World Cup
Men’s and women’s freestyle World Cup wrestlers from the United States, Ukraine, Japan, China, Georgia, Iran and Mongolia will compete on the international stage in Coralville, Iowa December 9-11. The World Championship is the annual international doubles championship. The top 5 countries qualifying for the Men’s Freestyle World Cup include the United States, Iran, Japan, Georgia and Mongolia. The top five countries for women’s teams are Japan, United States, China, Mongolia and Ukraine.

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