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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Top Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina withdrew from the World Gymnastics Championships after being set back by injuries this summer, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
Mustafina’s place on the Russian team wavered in September as she tried to overcome health issues, most notably a back injury.
She was included on an original team of seven athletes — of which one would have to be an alternate — on Sept. 23 after being quoted by Russian media earlier in the month saying she would miss the World Championships in Glasgow in the last week of October.
Mustafina, 21, won all-around medals at the 2010 World Championships (gold), 2012 Olympics (bronze) and 2013 World Championships (bronze) and was fourth in 2014 while dealing with health problems.
Mustafina has been a stalwart in the Russian program. With her, the Russian team took silver behind the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics and bronze at the 2014 World Championships.
The seven-woman Russian team for Worlds includes Viktoria Komova, Maria Paseka and Ksenia Afanasyeva, 2012 Olympians who missed the 2013 and 2014 Worlds. Komova took all-around silver at the 2011 Worlds (behind Jordyn Wieber) and the 2012 Olympics (behind Gabby Douglas)
The new Russian star may be Daria Spiridonova, who won the Russian Cup all-around earlier this month and was also put on the seven-woman team for Glasgow.
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Usain Bolt wasn’t dressed to race, but he took up a challenge from an unlikely opponent at The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Tuesday.
The six-time Olympic champion went on the show as part of a Los Angeles visit, three days after he partied at Oktoberfest in Munich for a third straight year. Also Tuesday, Bolt met with USC sprinter Andre De Grasse, who shared bronze in the World Championships 100m behind the gold medalist Bolt in Beijing on Aug. 23.
On Ellen, Demarjay Smith, an 8-year-old YouTube sensation for his videos as a personal trainer, said he could beat Bolt in a race. Watch the segment here.
“100 percent,” the Bronx boy said. “Trust me.”
Then Ellen brought Bolt out from off stage, all three of them did push-ups together and then headed to a parking lot for a race.
“Come on, Usain, don’t be scared of me,” the kid said.
Bolt, wearing jeans, did not back down, even though the starting blocks were positioned backwards. Smith clearly false-started, but Bolt didn’t call it back.
They sprinted for about 15 seconds, with Bolt unable to catch Smith and pulling up before the finish line, holding the back of his right leg.
“I got cramps,” Bolt said. “You got lucky, man. I want a rematch, though.”
Also on Ellen, Bolt talked about training for his last Olympics and that he’s considered moving into acting after his planned 2017 retirement. Watch part of that interview here.
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