In what will be a highlight of the Olympic year in wrestling and has become a rite of spring in New York, Beat the Streets Wrestling, Inc. and USA Wrestling announced details of this year’s international competition, which returns to New York City’s Times Square on Thursday, May 19.
Competitors for Team USA, which will include 2016 Olympic team hopefuls, will compete in men’s freestyle against world power Iran, a preview of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. In addition to Olympic-level matches, four Junior-level matches will be featured, showcasing future world and Olympic-caliber talent.
Members of the U.S. Women’s Team and Greco-Roman Team are also expected to battle in some other featured bouts against international competition to be announced.
“I couldn’t be more excited. We have Iran and the USA battling for wrestling supremacy in Times Square; united in the idea that sports can bring change in young men and women and even in countries sometimes. It’s going to be pretty cool. An added plus is that Iran has the loudest and most passionate wrestling fans in the world. Don’t miss it,” said Beat the Streets Chairman of the Board Mike Novogratz, the founder of these Gala competitions.
Billed as “United in the Square,” this will be the second time that Iran has been featured as part of the Beat the Streets Gala competition.
In 2013, the event dubbed “The Rumble on the Rails,” was hosted in historic Grand Central Terminal and featured dual meets between Team USA, Russia and Iran. Playing an important role in the international Keep Olympic Wrestling effort, this historic wrestling event gained international media coverage and helped wrestling retain its status on the Olympic Games program.
The world-class competition has been hosted in Times Square four previous times. In 2011, the United States defeated World Champion Russia, 5-2, the first sports event ever held in historic Times Square. In 2012, another U.S. vs. Russia dual meet was held in Times Square, along with the U.S. Olympic Team Wrestle-off for the 60 kg/132 lbs. position on the U.S. Olympic Team in men’s freestyle. In 2014, Team USA defeated a World All-Star Team in Times Square, 8-3. In 2015, “Salsa in the Square” featured a meeting between Team USA and Team Cuba in the three Olympic styles, held shortly after the historic change in USA and Cuban political relations.
This will be the seventh straight year in which a major international-style wrestling competition will be hosted as part of the Beat the Streets Gala activities. In 2010, an all-star challenge featuring top U.S. wrestlers was held on the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier docked on the west side of Manhattan.
Top Beat the Streets youth wrestlers will take the mat showcasing their skills in exhibition matches beginning at 3:30 p.m. to start the evening. A new feature will be held at the PSAL Girls Freestyle Dual Meet Championships finals, featuring the two top New York City girl’s freestyle wrestling high school teams from the spring girl’s freestyle season. Then it’s Team USA vs. Iran and other guests at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Beat the Streets Gala Celebration.
The USA vs. Iran dual requires a ticket for reserved seating in Times Square, but is an outdoor event. Pedestrians and non-ticket holders are encouraged to watch. Admission tickets may be bought in advance at www.btsny.org or 212.245.6570. A ticket is required for the Gala Celebration at the PlayStation Theater. More details are available at http://www.btsny.org/events/2016-gala/2016-gala.
The Gala Celebration will follow the wrestling competition. This unique and electrifying annual event helps Beat the Streets (BTS) raise significant funds to further its mission. Whether it’s providing a safe, constructive outlet for our urban youth, fighting childhood obesity, empowering women, or uniting entire nations, wrestling teaches persistence, dedication, and the value of working hard to achieve one’s goals, creates opportunities for personal and universal growth. BTS currently serve over 3,000 student-athletes every year.
“United In The Square,” Beat the Streets Wrestling Schedule
In New York City, May 19, 2016
3:30 p.m. – Beat the Streets Youth Exhibition Matches between 42nd and 43rd Streets
4:45 p.m. – New York City Girl’s Freestyle Dual Meet Championships Finals between 42nd and 43rd Streets
6:30 p.m. – World Class Wrestling: Team USA vs. Team Iran between 42nd and 43rd Streets
Followed by Gala Celebration