Kyra Barry named USA Wrestling Woman of the Year

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | April 13, 2016, 12:23 p.m. (ET)
Kyra Barry, second from left, receives the USA Wrestling Woman of the Year Award from USA Wrestling president James Ravannack, wrestling legend Dan Gable and USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender in Iowa City, Iowa. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.

Kyra Tirana Barry of New York, N.Y. has been named Woman of the Year by USA Wrestling, the national governing body for wrestling in the United States. This award recognizes an outstanding woman for her contributions to the sport of wrestling.

Barry has served as the Team Leader for women’s wrestling during the 2013-2016 quadrennium, serving in this role for three World Championships and the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In addition to her extensive support for the Women’s National Team, she has stepped up as a leader in numerous areas in the campaign to build and grow women’s wrestling.

During the three years she has served as Team Leader, the USA has won nine World medals, including two gold medals by Adeline Gray. In the team standings, the USA won a World Team Trophy all three years, placing third at the 2013, 2014 and 2015 World Championships. She has worked closely with National Women’s Coach Terry Steiner and his staff, along with the many volunteer coaches and leaders in the program, to help support the athletes in their efforts to excel.

“To be honest, I was surprised and flattered,” said Barry about the award. “I am very excited about the sport, this team and how hard they are working. They motivate me to do what I can to help. It is humbling because I just feel like I am doing my job as the Team Leader. I am trying to support them in their efforts and serve the broader needs of women’s wrestling in the only way I know how.”

She was instrumental in the creation of Women’s Wrestling Week, which USA Wrestling has celebrated the last two years. She also helped lead USA Wrestling’s first public celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day in 2016.

Barry has helped set up meetings with the Women’s Sports Foundation to find common ground between the organization and the wrestling community and open up their resources and support for the development of women’s wrestling. A number of USA Wrestling athletes have become more active with this organization with her encouragement.

She helped organize USA Wrestling’s involvement in UWWs Super 8 women’s campaign in 2015, in which World champion Helen Maroulis was an international ambassador, and USA Wrestling did a number of things to help celebrate and promote women’s wrestling.

Barry also has set up committees to work on issues, including getting more high school state associations to add women’s wrestling and to pursue Emerging Sports status for women’s wrestling with the NCAA. She has also helped develop media guides for Women’s Team USA, produced promotional videos for the team, and is developing a promotional website for women’s wrestling themed “Redefine Feminine.”

Prior to the 2015 Pan American Games, Barry hosted the U.S. Women’s National Team at Columbia University for a training camp, which included team building and a media campaign.

She serves as President of Beat the Streets in New York City, a growing organization that aims to improve the lives and potential of New York City student-athletes through the benefits and skills acquired by participating in amateur wrestling. Beat the Streets works with young men and women in New York City’s middle schools and high schools. As part of her leadership with Beat the Streets, she has assisted in the development of girls wrestling in New York City, including the creation of a freestyle league for high school girls.

Barry is a leader at her alma mater Columbia University, where she is the Chair of the Columbia College Alumni Association and a member of the Columbia College Board of Visitors. Barry is a member of the US Soccer Foundation's New York Leadership Council, where she helps develop soccer programs for underserved youth.

Kyra received her BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University’s Columbia College in 1987 as a member of the first fully co-ed class. She competed in soccer. She spent over a decade in public transportation policy and government relations at the US Congress, NYC Mayor’s Office, NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and NJ Department of Transportation. She has served on the boards of All Saints Episcopal School, Hoboken and Village Community School, NYC, as well as led several major fundraising efforts and the Hoboken travel soccer club. Kyra and her husband David Barry have three children, Olivia, Jake and Charley.

“I think we are making progress in women’s wrestling but we have much more work to do. We are on the edge of great breakthroughs on the high school and collegiate levels. We still have a long way to go in educating the general public. But there is incredible enthusiasm and momentum for progress. I am energized by what everyone else is doing for women’s wrestling,” said Barry.

The first USA Wrestling Woman of the Year was Tricia Saunders for 1997. The most recent Woman of the Year was Toska Adams in 2014.

PAST USA WRESTLING WOMAN OF THE YEAR WINNERS
2015 – Kyra Tirana Barry
2014 – Toska Adams
2013 – Marcie Van Dusen
2012 – Christina “Kiki” Kelley
2011 – Dr. Kristen Kells
2010 – Patricia Fox
2009 – Ginger Lile
2008 - Sue Hesser
2007 - Dr. Lin Miller
2006 - Sharon Dowden
2005 - Kim Martori-Wickey
2004 - Patricia Miranda
2003 - Kristie Marano
2002 - Pat Short
2001 - Paula McGahee
2000 - Sandy Stevens
1999 - Sue Siar
1998 - Nancy Schultz
1997 - Tricia Saunders