Courtesy of the Tonight Show

Gold medal wrestlers lobby for support on Leno

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Channeling his inner Howard Beale, Tonight Show host Jay Leno brought American gold medal wrestlers Rulon Gardner and Henry Cejudo on to his show Monday to discuss how upset he is over the IOC’s decision to recommend eliminating wrestling from the Olympics starting in 2020.

“I invited them here because I’m really mad about this,” said Leno, himself a former high school wrestler. “When I think of baseball, you want to go to the World Series. When I think of football, you want to go to the Super Bowl. I think with the wrestling the only place you can go – unless it’s goofball TV wrestling – is the Olympics…

“You take that away, where else do you go?”

Gardner and Cejudo echoed the sentiment, adding that their concern extends well beyond the fact that wrestling fans might simply miss seeing their sport in the Summer Games.

“If they get rid of wrestling at the Olympic level,” Cejudo, the surprise 55kg freestyle champ at the Beijing Games, said, “more likely they’re probably going to take it out of the NCAAs, and then high school, and then the pee-wee division. That’s what I’m afraid of.”

Wrestling has a shot of getting back in the Olympics if it can garner enough support from the IOC before votes in May and September, when the committee members will vote on which of eight prospective sports will fill the one available spot open on the 2020 Olympics schedule.

“This is kind of the call to arms,” said Gardner. “And I think everybody in the sport of wrestling around the world has kind of come together to say, ‘Hey, this isn’t right… We want you to re-look at this.'”

Check out a clip of the show here:

President Obama to female Olympians: ‘Y’all crushed it’ (video)

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President Barack Obama hosted the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams at the White House on Thursday.

Obama opened his speech by saying that he had planned on doing a floor routine with Simone Biles, before ultimately deciding that the room was too crowded. First Lady Michelle Obama interjected to remind the crowd that her husband “can’t touch his toes.”

The President then singled out the athletic accomplishments of Olympians including Biles, Michelle Carter, Simone Manuel, Claressa Shields, Kristin Armstrong, Kim Rhode, Allyson Felix, Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali, Kristi Castlin, Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps and the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

He also recognized: Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American to compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab, Sam Kendricks, the U.S. Army reservist who put down his pole and stood at attention when the national anthem started playing, Will Claye, who proposed to U.S. hurdler Queen Harrison after winning an Olympic silver medal, and Abbey D’Agostino, who helped an opponent to her feet after a crash.

“That is exactly what the Olympic spirit and the American spirit should be all about,” Obama said about the sportsmanship of D’Agostino.

The President was particularly enthusiastic about the performance of the female athletes.

“2016 belonged to America’s women Olympians,” Obama said. “Y’all crushed it.”

Watch Obama’s full speech here.

After Obama’s speech, Biles presented him with a surfboard autographed by the Olympians in attendance.

“I’m going to have a lot of time to surf next year,” Obama said.

MORE: Photos of Team USA at the White House

Photos: Team USA at the White House

Twitter: @TeamUSA
Twitter: @TeamUSA
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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams at the White House on Thursday.

Below are some of the best photos of Team USA from inside the White House: