“Beat The Streets,” a New York City-based not-for-profit organization that has brought wrestling to thousands of middle and high school students in New York City, along with USA Wrestling and the New York City Department of Education, today announced a unique event, a freestyle wrestling match featuring some of the world’s greatest Olympic-class wrestlers, to be held in Duffy Square in New York’s Times Square on Thursday, May 5.
The freestyle wrestling dual meet between defending team world champion Russia and the United States, will be the featured competition for the 2011 Beat the Streets Gala and Benefit, which will be held following the dual meet at the Hard Rock Café. It is being billed as The Battle on Broadway, with “New York Is Wrestling” as the
theme of this year’s event, which traditionally raises several hundred thousand dollars for programs in five boroughs of New York City. The event is free to the public, and will also be streamed live on TheMat.com by USA Wrestling and be shown on the single largest face LED screen in Times Square.
“There is no grander setting than Times Square to feature some of the world’s greatest athletes and to raise awareness for our program, which has given thousands of boys and girls the ability to be more physically fit and learn the life lessons that are essential for success in today’s ever-changing world,” said Mike Novogratz, Beat The Streets Chairman of the Board. “This event, outdoors in Duffy Square, will provide us with a very unique way to expose our program to thousands who may not be aware of our work, so we are very appreciative of all involved from the City and the Times Square Alliance, as well as USA Wrestling, for helping make this happen.”
“We are very proud to be able to help present this very unique event as a way to grow awareness for the sport and all the good work ‘Beat The Streets’ does for kids in New York City,” said Rich Bender, USA Wrestling Executive Director. “It will be a great setting for some of the world’s greatest athletes to showcase their skills.”
This is the second straight year in which a major Olympic-style competition has been featured as part of the Beat the Streets Gala. In 2010, an all-star challenge featuring top U.S. wrestlers was held on the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier docked on the west side of Manhattan. Over 1,200 donors from over 26 states attended the event.
A card of exhibition matches will be held at 3:00 p.m. in Duffy Square, featuring young athletes who wrestle in the Beat the Streets youth program, as well as high school wrestlers from the Public School Athletic League.
Final lineups for Team USA and the Russian National Team will be announced shortly.
The USA vs. Russia freestyle dual meet will follow at 6:00 p.m. In Duffy Square. Russia is the reigning World Team Champion in freestyle wrestling and is a traditional wrestling rival for the United States. USA vs. Russia freestyle dual meets go back to the 1960’s, and are among the most popular spectator events in wrestling.
The Beat the Streets Reception and Awards Ceremony is set for the Hard Rock Café, 1501 Broadway in New York City, starting at 7:30 p.m. There will be a live musical performance by country music legend John Rich at the function.