A walk-on role on “Boardwalk Empire,” meeting Jay Leno and Mario Lopez and a training session with Randy Couture are some of the items up for bid to benefit wrestling’s hope to remain in the Olympics.
Actor and wrestling advocate Billy Baldwin and the Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling (CPOW) launched the first of three auctions through eBay on Friday.
On Feb. 12, the International Olympic Committee voted to recommend wrestling be dropped from the Olympic program starting in 2020. In September, the IOC will choose one of wrestling, baseball/softball and squash to add for the 2020 and 2024 Olympics.
Wrestling has been a part of the Olympics at every Games in the modern era dating to the first in 1896 in Athens except in 1904.
Seven items are currently up for bid, including a one-hour training session with mixed martial arts star Couture, meeting Leno at “The Tonight Show,” meeting Lopez at “Extra,” a backstage experience with pro wrestlers Hulk Hogan and 1996 Olympic champion Kurt Angle and a rendezvous with ESPN’s Mike Golic.
Items scheduled to go up for bid later include a VIP ticket package for the Rio 2016 Olympics, a walk-on role on “Boardwalk Empire” and lunch with actor Tom Arnold.
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Australian golfer Marc Leishman will miss the Rio Olympics due to his wife’s health.
“Many of you may know that last April my children and I almost lost my wife, Audrey, to toxic shock syndrome,” Leishman said in a statement. “Since then Audrey has been prone to infection and is far removed from 100 percent recovery of her immune system.
“We have consulted with Audrey’s physician and due to her ongoing recovery from toxic shock and potential risks associated with the transmission of the Zika virus, it was a difficult yet easy decision not to participate.
“I missed playing in the 2015 Masters tournament to be at her side when she was originally stricken and I cannot risk placing her health in jeopardy.
“The Masters and the Olympics are the two biggest tournaments to which a golfer can be invited; however, my family will always come before golf.”
Leishman, 32 with one PGA Tour win, joined the projected Olympic field when countryman Adam Scott said last month that he would skip Rio.
World No. 1 Jason Day is assured one of two Olympic spots for Australian men when the 60-man field is determined based on July 11 world rankings.
With No. 7 Scott and No. 35 Leishman out, the next-best Aussie is No. 63 Marcus Fraser.
Three more major champions — Vijay Singh, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel — also said in April they would not compete in Rio.
Golf returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.
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Rory McIlroy believes golf may not remain in the Olympics after 2020 following a string of major champions announcing they will skip the sport’s return at the Rio Games.
“Because of how [Olympic golf is] being approached in golf circles … I’m not sure if we’re going to have another opportunity to win a gold medal after [Tokyo 2020],” McIlroy said ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.
In 2009, the International Olympic Committee voted to re-add golf and rugby to the Olympic program for the 2016 Olympics, with a review in 2017 if they would remain for the 2020 Olympics.
In 2013, Tokyo was elected host city for the 2020 Olympics with a plan that includes golf.
Beyond 2020, golf does not yet have a place in the Olympics. Its chances for the 2024 Olympics could come into focus when that host city is chosen in September 2017.
McIlroy, ranked No. 3 in the world, has repeated he will play for Ireland in the first Olympic golf tournament since 1904 in Rio in August.
Fellow major champions Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Vijay Singh said last month they will not play in the Rio Olympics.
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