Members of the U.S. wrestling team shook hands and took pictures with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at an awards ceremony on Friday, after they finished third in a tournament in Tehran.
The American and Iranian wrestling teams, which were in Iran’s capital to compete in a freestyle wrestling World Cup event, are fighting “arm-in-arm” for the survival of their sport after it was recommended to be removed from the 2020 Olympics schedule by the IOC in a vote last week during an executive board meeting.
The cooperation between the nations is being compared to the famous “Ping-pong Diplomacy” of the early-1970s, when U.S. and Chinese players competed against one another in friendly tournaments that many believe paved the way for then President Nixon to visit Beijing.
The U.S. and Iran have had poor diplomatic relations since 1979 Islamic Revolution, when protestors stormed the American embassy and held 52 people hostage for 444 days.
Iran ended up finishing first in the team event Friday, beating Russia in the finals, while Americans Jordan Burroughs, Obenson Blanc, Joseph Kennedy, Harold Metcalf, John Askren, Tervel Dlagnev, and James Bergman scored a 6-1 record against Belarus to take the bronze.
Simone Biles hasn’t qualified for the Olympics yet, but she’s already getting her own cereal box.
The three-time reigning World all-around champion was among five Team USA athletes announced as part of Kellogg’s pre-Rio campaign this week.
As part of it, Biles is on the cover of limited-edition Special K Red Berries and Corn Flakes cereal boxes released in June.
Biles is next expected to compete in the Secret U.S. Classic in Hartford, Conn., on June 4 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra.
After that comes the P&G Championships (June 24-26, St. Louis) and the U.S. Olympic Trials (July 8-10, San Jose), both on NBC Sports.
A full U.S. Olympic Trials schedule for all sports is available here.
VIDEO: Biles surprised with Efron leotard on ‘Ellen’
Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are used to performing in front of packed arenas, but they had never encountered anything like the Sambadrome.
NBC’s figure skating analysts visited Rio de Janeiro in February to taste the Olympic city ahead of the first Games in South America for “1st Look.”
They sampled cuisine and night life, played footvolley on one of the city’s famous beaches and took part in the famed Carnival.
They danced in costumes atop a float in front of some 100,000 people during the annual festival.
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