By Gary Anderson

July 10 - 150210540Hollywood actor William Baldwin has lent his support to the campaign to keep wrestling as an Olympic sport by announcing an online auction that will provide funding for the Committee to Preserve Olympic Wrestling (CPOW).

The auction, hosted online by eBay, will feature various items from Hollywood celebrities, wrestling and mixed martial arts (MMA) legends and one-of-a-kind experiences.

Bidders also have the chance to win travel packages to the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio, which include tickets to events and VIP access.

The CPOW, which is chaired by American Olympic bronze medallist and world freestyle wrestling champion Bill Scherr, was set up by USA Wrestling following the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision in February to recommend that the sport be dropped from the programme after Rio 2016.

The proceeds of the auction, the first of which takes place today, will go to the Keep Wrestling Movement which also aims to promote the value of wrestling to young men and women worldwide.

William Baldwin is backing campaign to reinstate wrestling on the 2020 Olympic Games programmeWilliam Baldwin is backing the campaign to reinstate wrestling on the 2020 Olympic Games programme

The 50-year-old American actor, is a former high school and college wrestler and in 2003 he was inducted into the US National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

He has appeared in several Hollywood films including Flatliners, Backdraft, Sliver, Fair Game, Virus and Double Bang.

"The values of work ethic, discipline and mental toughness that are instilled through training and competition transcend the sport of wrestling," said Baldwin, who has been involved with CPOW since February.

"Later in life, when you are fighting your way through adversity, dealing with the challenges of being a husband and father, or in the pursuit of your career, they will come back to serve you well."

A decision on whether wrestling will be reinstated for 2020 is due be made at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires in September, where IOC members will also elect a new President to replace Jacques Rogge and also decide which city out of Tokyo, Madrid or Istanbul will host the 2020 Games.

Wrestling is up against baseball-softball and squash for a place on the Olympic programme.

For more information on the auction click here

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