USA Judo and USA Wrestling Join Forces to Host 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Las Vegas

11/01/2008

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – USA Judo is pleased to announce that for the first time ever the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Judo will be held simultaneously with the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Wrestling, June 15-16, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nev.

“This is a great opportunity for us to showcase judo to the wrestling community in the U.S. We have had some great success with wrestlers moving into judo and making an impact in our sport,” said USA Judo CEO Jose H. Rodriguez (Colorado Springs, Colo.) “This is indeed a perfect Olympic Trials marriage and it will all happen in Las Vegas! I have had the opportunity to put on events with USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender and his staff in the past, and I know that they put on first-class tournaments. This is a win-win proposition for both judo and wrestling!”

The U.S. Olympic Team Trials for all sports is a collaborative, three-way partnership between the U.S. Olympic Committee, the National Governing Bodies and the Local Organizing Committees.

The Trials will be held at the Thomas and Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada – Las Vegas and will feature contests in each of the 14 Olympic judo weight divisions as well as the 18 Olympic wrestling weight classes in the three Olympic styles (men’s freestyle, men’s Greco-Roman, women’s freestyle) to be contested at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

With eight athletes expected to compete in the Trials for each weight division, as many as 112 judo players will be eligible for berths on the U.S. Olympic Team. USA Wrestling expects almost 200 wrestlers to participate in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

“We are very excited that USA Judo will host their Trials in Las Vegas in conjunction with the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling," said Rich Bender (Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Wrestling Executive Director. "This promises to be a can’t miss weekend for wrestling and judo fans, as well as the general sport fan. Combining the two events, allows both sports an opportunity to cross-promote our teams and programs to a much larger spectator and media base.”

USA Judo has held several key events in Las Vegas during recent years, including the highly successful 2001-04 U.S. Open Championships.

“I am extremely happy that USA Judo will be showcasing our top athletes in Las Vegas in 2008 in conjunction with USA Wrestling,” said USA Judo President Dr. Ron Tripp (Norman, Okla.) “Coming from a strong wrestling background into the sport of judo, it will be wonderful to have an opportunity to enjoy both sports at their pinnacle events of the Olympic quadrennium at the same time. In my first term as President, one of my initial actions was to move the U.S. Open from Colorado Springs to the mega entertainment capitol of the world, Las Vegas. The combination of the wrestling and judo Olympic Trials together in Las Vegas will bring things full circle as I fulfill my Presidential service in 2008.”

The local organizers for the Trials are Las Vegas Events which has played host to hundreds of major sporting events, including the National Finals Rodeo, NASCAR Nextel Cup and Craftsman Truck Series events, NHRA Drag Racing, USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team Training and Exhibition, the Las Vegas Bowl, PBR World Finals, Vegoose Music Festival and the signature New Year’s Eve production, America‘s Party.

“Las Vegas is proud to become the host city for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Judo,” said Pat Christenson (Las Vegas, Nev.), President of Las Vegas Events. “The combination of judo and wrestling, will provide fans an opportunity to see these great athletes compete for berths on the U.S. Olympic Team. There is a great deal of synergy between the two sports, so fans will have a chance to see both disciplines set against the backdrop of Las Vegas, the most exciting city in the world.”

For more information, contact Nicole Jomantas, USA Judo Director of Communications and Media Relations, at 719.866.4732 or Nicole.Jomantas@usajudo.us.