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.
Video: Jordan Burroughs rips phone book in half
NBC Olympics and Fandango partnered for Fandango’s “I Love Movies: Rio Olympic Edition,” featuring swimming gold medalists Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin and Matt Grevers, among other Olympians and Paralympians.
Leading up to the Rio Games, NBC Olympics and Fandango plan to release episodes with dozens of athletes from gymnastics, track and field, diving, basketball rugby and Paralympic events.
Watch Lochte’s short film above and Franklin and Grevers reveal their favorite movies below.
Lochte, Franklin and Grevers will look to qualify for the Rio Olympics at the Olympic Trials in Omaha from June 26-July 3, with broadcast coverage on NBC Sports.
MORE: Full NBC Olympic trials broadcast schedule
Critics of professional boxers potentially being allowed in the Olympics (more likely in full for 2020 than 2016 at this point) have mostly cited a disadvantage for inexperienced, less talented amateur fighters at the Games.
Mike Tyson also reportedly called the idea to integrate pro boxers into the Games “foolish” and “ridiculous” on Wednesday, but for a very different reason.
“Some of the pro fighters are gonna get beat by the amateurs,” Tyson said while in China, according to Sky Sports. “If they are like the amateur fighters that I was fighting in the ’80s, like [three-time Cuban Olympic heavyweight champion Teófilo] Stevenson [who Tyson never fought] and those guys, and all those guys were fighting with the Russians and the Cubans, they are gonna beat some of the champions.”
Tyson never boxed in the Olympics but attempted to make the 1984 Olympic team at age 17.
He lost to eventual gold medalist Henry Tillman at the Olympic Trials after reportedly meeting Evander Holyfield for the first time at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Both Russia and Cuba boycotted the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics.
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