Zuaro inducted into FILA Wrestling Hall of Fame in Moscow ceremonies

By Gary Abbott | Sept. 07, 2010, 10:51 a.m. (ET)
MOSCOW, Russia - Dr. Vince Zuaro, a highly respected international wrestling referee, was among the inductees to the FILA Wrestling Hall of Fame, which had an awards banquet at the Evropesky Banquet Hall, in the Kievsky Railway station.

Zuaro was the first official from the United States to be recognized by the FILA Hall of Fame for his career as a referee.

"This induction means a great deal to me as I have given much of my life to the sport," Zuaro said. "I never expected a reward like this. It's been a labor of love."

Zuaro joined two Greco-Roman wrestlers, two men's freestyle wrestlers, one women's freestyle wrestler and a legendary Russian coach in the FILA Hall of Fame Class of 2010. The awards will be housed in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Stillwater, Okla. and the FILA Headquarters in Switzerland.

Zuaro received his award from FILA President Raphael Martinetti, and FILA Bureau member Stan Dziedzic, who manages the Hall of Fame program for the FILA Hall of Fame.

"This is the culmination of a lot of years of doing things I love to do - to put time into the great sport of wrestling" said Zuaro after receiving his Hall of Fame plaque. "In the early years, I was determined to develop officials. We started the U.S. Wrestling Officials Association and conducted FILA clinics in the United States for the first time. We went from there to putting out rule books so our wrestlers and officials would learn the intracasies of the international rules. This induction is the Phd of wrestling. There is no way to go higher. I am just glad I lived long enough to accept this great, great award."

Zuaro officiated in five Olympic Games, 34 World Championships, six Pan American Championships and 30 years of national tournaments in addition to a long career as a collegiate referee. Three times he was presented the FILA Cross/Star, the highest award of international wrestling, as well as the Gold Whistle, for his Olympic and World officiating.

In 1970, he founded the U.S. Wrestling Officials Association, responsible for educating American referees, and authored the USA Wrestling rule book for 20 years. He was inducted as a Distinguished Member of the U.S. National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1984.

Also inducted with Zuaro were Greco-Roman stars Georgia's Roman Rurua and Poland's Andrzej Wronski. The freestyle inductees were Russia's Anatoli Beloglasov and Bouvaisa Saitiev. The women's freestyler inducted was Nikola Hartmann-Duenser of Austria. Legendary coach and wrestler, the late Ivan Yarygin was the 2010 recipient of the FILA Legend award. Yarygin's widow accepted the award in his honor.

"This 2010 FILA Hall of Fame class offers us a glimpse at the steep tradition of Russian wrestling. It features Russia's three-time Olympic Champion, Bouvaisa Saitiev and the only wrestler in history to win a gold medal at three different weight classes, Anatoli Beloglasav," said Stan Dziedzic, President of the FILA Hall of Fame Commission. "Legend Ivan Yarygin rounds out Russia's honorees."

Rurua and Wronski combined to win eight World-level medals with Rurua winning one Olympic gold and Wronski winning two in Greco-Roman.

Beloglasov earned three gold medals at the World Championships and an Olympic Gold in 1980. Saitiev's impressive career includes six World gold medals and three Olympic gold medals.

Hartmann-Duenser carries with her five World gold medals, three of which were won consecutively in 1993, '94, and '95.

Yarygin, holds two Olympic gold medals, one World gold medal and is a former USSR National Coach.

In addition to the Hall of Fame inductions, the Russian Wrestling Federation honored the past Olympic champions from Russia and the Soviet Union in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. A number of the past champions were there in person to receive a special trophy presented by the Russian Federation.

2010 FILA Hall of Fame Inductees

Roman Rurua (Georgia)
1968 Olympic Gold, 4x World Gold (1966,'67, '69, '70)

Andrzej Wronski (Poland)
2x Olympic Gold (1988, '96), 1994 World Gold, 1999 World Silver, 2x World Bronze (1993, '97)

Anatoli Beloglasov (Russia)
1980 Olympic Gold, 3x World Gold (1977,'78, '82), 1983 World Bronze

Bouvaisa Saitiev (Russia)
3x Olympic Gold (1996, 2004, '08), 6x World Gold (1995, '97, '98, 2001, '03, '05)

Women's freestyle
Nikola Hartmann-Duenser (Austria)
5x World Gold (1993, '94, '95, '98, 2000)

Dr. Vincent Zuaro (United States)
5x Olympic Referee (1964, '68, '72, '84, '88), 34x World Referee

Ivan Yarygin (Russia)
2x Olympic Gold (1972, '76), 1973 World Gold, USSR National Coach

National Wrestling Hall of Fame biography
Vince Zuaro
Distinguished Member - Class Of 1984

Because of Vince Zuaro, America knows the rules. Through half a century of Olympic endeavor, USA wrestlers were handicapped by unfamiliarity with the international styles-the techniques, the rules and their interpretations. That so many excelled is a tribute to their talent and dedication. But for every achievement, there also was a shadow of what might have been. Today, America's officials, coaches, and athletes, know the international rules better than some of the people who wrote them, largely because of the U. S. Wrestling Officials Association founded by Zuaro in 1970 and the USA Wrestling rule book which he authored for 20 years. Zuaro himself was a collegiate and international referee of exceptional ability, a model of integrity and fair play. He officiated in four Olympic Games, 34 World Championships, six Pan American Championships and 30 years of national tournaments. Three times he was presented the FILA Cross/Star, highest award of international wrestling, as well as the Gold Whistle, for his Olympic and World officiating. A 1948 graduate of Holy Cross and a member of its 1946 Orange Bowl football team, Zuaro was a successful wrestling coach for 11 years at Freeport High School on Long Island, and for two years at Columbia University, with an over-all record of 132 victories against 63 defeats. But it was as an official, and as an educator of officials, that he gained national and international acclaim. As the nation's foremost clinician on freestyle and Greco-Roman rules and officiating techniques, he trained more than 5,000 referee-judges all across the nation and throughout the U. S. armed forces in Europe. Never again will American athletes enter international competition without knowing what to expect from their opponents, from the referees and from the rules. In recognition of this legacy to wrestling, and of his long years of service to the sport, Dr. Vincent Zuaro is honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.