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Japan's Kaori Icho (R) tussles with Petra Olli of Finland in the women's 58-kilogram division final at the world wrestling championships in Las Vegas on Sept. 10, 2015. Icho won the match to claim her 10th world title. (Kyodo via AP Images)
With wrestling set to make its reintroduce itself to the world at the Rio Olympics, international federation president Nenad Lalovic penned a letter of thanks to the sport's community.
The International Olympic Committee booted wrestling from the program three years ago, beginning with the Tokyo Games in 2020. The move forced wrestling to make a number of tweaks to appeal to modern viewers while adding a pair of women's weight classes to address gender equity concerns.
The IOC voted wrestling back into the Olympics just six months after dropping the sport.
Lalovic, who was named the interim president less than a week after the IOC's decision in 2013 and later took over on a permanent basis, proved to be crucial in helping steer the sport through the most difficult time in its long history.
"We have all worked hard to get back to this point and I now leave it in your hands to show the world the beauty of competition, the beauty of wrestling and the beauty of the Games," Lalovic wrote in a letter posted Saturday.
The full letter can be viewed on United World Wrestling's website:
The Olympic wrestling tournament begins on August 14.