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November 24, 2014

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Snubbed by the Olympics, wrestling is heading to Las Vegas

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Paul Sancya / a

In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2012, file photo Amer Hrustanovic of Austria competes against Damian Janikowski of Poland, in blue, during the 84-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. An official familiar with the decision says IOC leaders have dropped wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics. In a surprise decision Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, the official tells The Associated Press that the IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon and remove wrestling instead.

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Las Vegas will host an international wrestling event in 2015 that is expected to draw thousands of people to the city and could be one of the last links the sport has with the Olympic Games.

The 2015 World Wrestling Championships are slated for the 9,500-seat Orleans Arena in September of that year and will be the first and largest qualifying event to send athletes to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

It’s the first time a world championship event for the sport will land in Las Vegas.

It also could be among the last wrestling qualifiers for the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee announced earlier this month that it intends to remove wrestling as an Olympic sport beginning in 2020.

The Las Vegas competition will be presented by the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles; USA Wrestling; the U.S. Olympic Committee; and Las Vegas Events, a local nonprofit group that works with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to bring major events to the city.

USA Wrestling won the bid to host the international event and chose Las Vegas as the site. It’s the fifth time a wrestling world championship will take place in the United States. Previous events were held in New York, Atlanta, San Diego and Toledo, Ohio.

Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events and a former collegiate wrestler, said the championships are a culmination of decades of support for the sport. Competition in all three Olympic styles of wrestling — men’s freestyle, women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman — is scheduled.

The wrestling event will be the second major international sporting event to be hosted by the Orleans Arena in two years.

In Januarty 2014, the arena will host the annual World Financial Group Continental Cup, a curling competition. It will be the first time the competition is staged outside Canada.

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