Iowa City awarded UWW Freestyle World Cup for 2018

Chris Cuellar
Hawk Central

After successful bouts with the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials in 2012 and 2016, Iowa City and Carver-Hawkeye Arena are going global.

The University of Iowa and USA Wrestling announced Wednesday that the campus arena had been awarded the bid for the 2018 Freestyle World Cup by United World Wrestling, organized by Iowa’s athletic department and the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The meet will serve as international dual championships featuring the top eight qualifying freestyle wrestling teams in the world.

Team USA Wrestlers celebrate at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in April.

“Iowa City is one of the greatest wrestling cities in the world and Carver-Hawkeye Arena is a historic location that will be a spectacular showcase for our sport,” USA Wrestling executive director Rich Bender said in a release.

The event is slated for April 21-22, 2018. It is Iowa City’s first time being awarded the bid, but the 30th time the World Cup will be held in the United States. The last three took place in Los Angeles, and the 2017 edition will be Feb. 16-17 in Iran.

The field for 2018 will be set at the 2017 World Wrestling Championships, where freestyle team results will determine who travels to Iowa City. The Iowa City contingent submitted its bid in September and hosted UWW representatives in October. 


The 2012 U.S. Olympic trials set an attendance record for the event, with a two-day total of 54,766. The 2016 event set the second-largest attendance total.

“For that past few Olympic years, we have been front and center to the nation with our hosting of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Now, in April of 2018, the world very clearly gets to see why Iowa City is one of the sport’s most hallowed capitals,” Josh Schamberger, president of the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, said in the release.

Earlier this year, Iowa City hosted another global event as the second stop on the seven-city Telenet UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup circuit, which was held in conjunction with the city's annual Jingle Cross races. The September event welcomed more than 10,000 spectators and cyclists.