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|Olympic wrestlers ring The Closing Bell at New York Stock Exchange on Friday|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Click here for NYSE Closing Bell video and photo featuring U.S. wrestlers
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Three wrestlers and a coach from the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team for wrestling were among the dignitaries who rang The Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, June 20.
Participating in the Closing Bell Ceremony were two-time Olympians Brad Vering (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) and Daniel Cormier (Stillwater, Okla./Gator WC) and 2008 Olympian Marcie Van Dusen (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids), along with 2008 U.S. Olympic Team freestyle coach Lee Kemp (Alpharetta, Ga.). Joining the wrestling delegation were also athletes from USA Rowing.
The U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team is in the New York area for two days of media interviews, and to participate in the Fuel the Dream function in Bernardsville, N.J. on Saturday night. Fuel the Dream is a fundraising program created by USA Wrestling directly raise funds for members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, and allow them to bring family to the Beijing Games.
Click here to donate to Fuel the Dream
Joining the wrestlers on the platform at the New York Stock Exchange were a number of the leaders of the Fuel the Dream program Steven John Jastrabek, Jeff Hanson and David Welch. They have also been active with the New Jersey Night of Champions events which have successfully raised funds for USA Wrestling and the U.S. Olympic Committee in past years.
Van Dusen was given the honor of ringing the bell, standing in the center of the podium and bringing the work day to a close.
"That was fun. It was an adrenaline rush. I had a great time. I had to push a button and hold it for 15 seconds," said Van Dusen.
Prior to going up on the platform, Vering and Cormier conducted national television interviews with CNBC and the Fox Network. Just before the actual closing of the day, on national television, Vering wrestled with CNN announcer Dylan Ratigan.
"I went down in the back and wrestled Dylan from CNN," said Vering. "I did an arm throw on him. I think I ripped his suit."
The experience was special for all of the wrestling people who were part of the tradition.
"This was amazing," said Cormier. "It is something you never expect to do. The support we got from the people on the floor was amazing. They clapped for us when we did our interviews. You can feel their love for American athletes down there."
"I never had that opportunity. It was awesome," said Kemp, who worked for a number of major corporations during his business career. "How many opportunities to you have to do that in any walk of life. Even in business, you don't get to do that. It gave me great pride."
Lisa Dollamurt, who served as the host for the Olympians on behalf of the New York Stock Exchange, explained that 26 media outlets around the world purchase the video clip of the Closing Bell and 126 million people around the world witness it.
Having the Olympic wrestlers there was exciting to those who work there.
"This is special. It is not just a CEO up there. It is great to have the Olympians," said Ann Marie Gioia,, Senior Media Relations Specialist with the NYSE.