United World Wrestling has awarded both the 2022 and 2023 Men’s and Women’s Freestyle World Cup to Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa, the first time in history that the men’s and women’s freestyle World Cup events will be held side-by-side.
USA Wrestling made the announcement on Thursday. The World Cup, wrestling’s international dual meet championships, will be in Iowa from December 10–11, 2022, and December 9-10, 2023. Both events feature the top five freestyle wrestling teams in the world for men and women plus an all-world team that will be comprised of athletes whose teams finished outside the top five in the team race at the World Championships.
“USA Wrestling is excited to once again bring one of the most important wrestling competitions on the planet to the Coralville/Iowa City community, which is truly an international wrestling hotbed,” said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender. “We are extremely pleased that we will be able to showcase the world’s best men’s and women’s freestyle wrestlers in the same location. The atmosphere will be electric and fans will not want to miss this action.”
Coralville’s Xtream Arena opened in September 2020 and USA Wrestling has held a number of major events there including the 2020 Senior Nationals, the 2021 UWW Junior and Senior Nationals, as well as the 2021 High School National Recruiting Showcase and the USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle Nationals.
The local organizing committee is Think Iowa City and the Iowa City Area Sports Commission, which helped host the successful 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials and the 2018 Men’s Freestyle World Cup at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Iowa City Area Sports Commission and its leaders came up with the concept of a combined World Cup shortly after the 2018 World Cup and worked with USA Wrestling to make the vision a reality. Local leaders Josh Schamberger and Luke Eustice went to United World Wrestling headquarters to meet with its staff and pitch the idea, which was initially put on hold during the pandemic before a revised proposal was presented this year.
“The Iowa City Area Sports Commission has made significant investments into girls and women’s wrestling this past decade,” said Schamberger, president of Think Iowa City. “In so many ways, this combined World Cup is an extension of this effort. This inaugural Men’s and Women’s Freestyle World Cup will reverberate across the wrestling globe. We couldn’t be more honored to be the community chosen to set the bar for how this event should look and run for decades to come. And quite honestly, we aim for that bar to actually never be reached outside of Iowa City, Iowa, Wrestling Town, USA.”
This will be the second time that the men’s freestyle World Cup has been held in the Iowa City area, as the 2018 World Cup was hosted at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the campus of the University of Iowa. This will be the first time that the United States has hosted the Women’s World Cup. This will be the 31st time the United States has hosted the men’s freestyle World Cup, the most of any nation.