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Russian wrestler to return Olympic gold

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 11:13 a.m. CDT

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian wrestler says he is returning his Olympic gold medal to protest the International Olympic Committee's decision to drop his sport from the Olympic program.

Sagid Murtazaliyev told Russian television late Tuesday that it was a "tough decision" to make, but he hopes it might move Olympic officials to see "common sense."

The IOC executive board voted earlier this month to drop wrestling from the 2020 Games, but the final decision will be made at the body's assembly in September at Argentina.

Murtazaliyev, 38, who won gold in the 97-kilogram (214-pound) freestyle class at the 2000 Sydney Games, has followed the example of Bulgarian wrestler Valentin Yordanov who last week who said he'd be handing his medal back to the IOC in protest.

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