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A Different Broadway Show (Snap Judgments: Beat The Streets – Times Square)

Robert Cole/ALOST
One of the Olympic gold medalists who featured in the Beat the Streets event was 2016 Rio gold medalist Helen Maroulis (l.), the first American to win a gold medal in women's wrestling. (Robert Cole/ALOST)
One of the Olympic gold medalists who featured in the Beat the Streets event in New York City was 2016 Rio gold medalist Helen Maroulis (l.), the first-ever American to win a gold medal in women’s wrestling. (Robert Cole/ALOST)

 

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

 

Like on most warm, summer-like evenings in the Big Apple, hundreds of people – from native New Yorkers to out-of-towners – made their way to Broadway on a Wednesday evening to take in a performance set on a well-lit stage with the main actors decorated with awards over their distinguished careers. Let’s just say that the stage was a little different than that in the Eugene O’Neill Theater, and that the actors, after their performances, would look a little more weary than those taking the stage to deliver their lines.

The annual Beat the Streets wrestling exhibition took place at Duffy Square in Times Square, as the format was an “East Meets West” style as wrestlers from Team USA took on wrestlers from Team Japan. Almost all of the wrestlers who featured for the Stars and Stripes are household names in the wrestling community, with a number of them having won world or Olympic championships in international competition. Included in today’s exhibition was 2016 Olympic gold medalist Helen Maroulis, the first American woman to ever win a gold medal in wrestling, and Jordan Burroughs, a gold medal winner in the 2012 Olympic games in London. Not only were some of the best professionals featured today, many elite high school performers, from New York City and nationally, came to Times Square to show their talents while participating in matches earlier in the afternoon. Most notably, the New York City PSAL Girl’s Freestyle Dual Meet Championship preceded the “East vs. West” exhibition.

The event also served mainly as a fundraiser for the Beat the Streets Wrestling program. According to its website, Beat the Streets works directly with the New York City Department of Education in a public-private partnership to bring the life changing sport of wrestling to over 3,000 New York City student-athletes to help them achieve their personal and athletic goals. Through the operation of wrestling programs in middle and high schools in the five boroughs, BTS and the DOE provide a safe, positive atmosphere in which disadvantaged and at-risk youth can learn the essential life lessons of grit, personal responsibility and teamwork, physical fitness and nutrition, and life-long learning. It was announced recently that this exhibition in Times Square raised $1.2 million, highlighting the impact that the program has made on thousands of youth in New York City and across the country as the sport of wrestling continues to grow, especially in inner cities.

As always, our photographer, Robert Cole, was on the front row to provide us and our viewers amazing closeups of the action. There are 41 photos in this gallery and, after clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures.

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