As USA Wrestling preps for Iran trip, Gable reflects on sport's place in world

In the midst of a hostile political climate following the United States' travel ban, a sport may seem trivial.

To wrestling icon Dan Gable, it could actually be a key to camaraderie.

"We're intense...but we actually come together at times," Gable said Wednesday at his home in Iowa City. "I think (governments) ought to look at sport a little more to see how we get along - because if we can get along on the wrestling mat, which is pretty tough, I think you can get along most any place."

USA Wrestling will send a team to Iran this month for the 2017 Freestyle World Cup. The hope is that it can be the beginning of a peaceful process of healing.

"You just develop this relationship - and these relationships may be very competitive on the mat - but they are almost friendships off the mat," Gable said.

The World Cup comes to Iowa City in April 2018, where the goal will be to continue the goodwill.

"Certainly we're optimistic that things will get figured out and that our countries will come closer together in the next few years," Josh Schamberger of the Iowa City/Coralville Area CVB said. "When we do host the World Cup here, we'll be able to have a good contingent here from Iran that's here to cheer on the Iranian team.

"Hopefully we won't be so divided," Gable said of the climate in 2018, "and maybe they'll have to come to the World Cup to get undivided."

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