USA Wrestling Diversity Committee launches its work with historic meeting in Colorado Springs

By Gary Abbott | April 09, 2010, 9:13 p.m. (ET)
Diversity Committee meeting participants: (front row) Haley Thompson, Kim Martori-Wickey, Sara McMann, William Grant, Gary Abbott; (back row) Rich Bender, Leigh Jaynes, Eric Parthen, Terry Fike, Lloyd Keaser, Bobby Douglas. Not pictured is William Rosado, who participated via conference call.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.- USA Wrestling's newly formed Diversity Committee hosted a historic in-person meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn "" Airport on Thursday.

The committee, chaired by Olympic athlete and coach Bobby Douglas, worked on a number of projects concerning diversity initiatives within USA Wrestling and the sport of wrestling. It was the first in-person meeting of this committee, which has had previous conference calls in February and March.

"I am very excited to be part of this important committee. I am more excited about the work we will be doing" said Douglas. "USA Wrestling, one of America's best secrets, will lead the way to a more diverse wrestling community."

Among the committee's actions on Thursday was the creation of a USA Wrestling Diversity Mission Statement, a mission statement for the Diversity Committee and a set of target objectives for the committee.

These statements will be presented to the appropriate USA Wrestling constituent groups for review and comment, after which they will be presented to the USA Wrestling Executive Committee for approval.

The committee heard a presentation by Eric Parthen, the Director of NGB Organizational Development for the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC). Parthen presented materials from an extensive report entitled New Models of Diversity Value: Leveraging Diversity for NGB Competitive Advantage, which was prepared for the USOC by Virtcom Consulting. Parthen also provided information on diversity projects from other National Governing Bodies from the Olympic family, and actively participated in the committee's work sessions.

"I want to thank USA Wrestling and its Diversity Committee for the leadership it has taken" said Parthen. "I am impressed by the accomplishments already made and am encouraged about the future achievements of the committee's work."

The committee conducted an extensive SWOT analysis of diversity within USA Wrestling and the sport of wrestling, documenting its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This work will be used to help prioritize the committee's efforts and develop specific programs and initiatives to achieve its mission.

The committee itself is very diverse in its makeup, and includes athletes, coaches and leaders who have been trailblazers in eliminating barriers within wrestling and providing opportunities for all Americans to participate in the sport.

"I am incredibly proud of our organization and its commitment to affect change in diversity" said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender. "We are very fortunate to have leaders involved on this committee that will insure success in our objective to increase our diversity at all levels."

The Diversity Committee will provide the wrestling community with updates on its work, and encourages everybody within wrestling who has information and ideas concerning diversity to share it with the group.

Bobby Douglas, Ames, Iowa (Chairperson)
Clarissa Chun, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Terry Fike, Lock Haven, Pa.
William Grant, Inverness, Fla.
Leigh Jaynes, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Lloyd Keaser, Ashburn, Va.
Kim Martori-Wickey, Phoenix, Ariz.
Sara McMann, Limestone, S.C.
William Rosado, Las Vegas, Nev.

Staff liaison - Rich Bender, USA Wrestling Executive Director
Staff support- Gary Abbott and Haley Scherr