Photo: Competition takes place on October 29, 2017 between the USA and Japan Women’s Freestyle wrestling teams at the 4th Annual Benefit for Beat the Streets Los Angeles. Photo by Dana Barsuhn.
LITTLE TOKYO, LOS ANGELES – Beat the Streets Los Angeles was honored to host a wrestling competition between the Japanese and USA women’s freestyle wrestling teams as part of our 4th Annual Benefit.
Hosted by ESPN reporter Jill Montgomery, this first-of-its-kind event – a dual-meet style competition between the women’s freestyle teams of two nations – matched 2 of the top ranked women’s wrestling teams in the world against each other in the courtyard outside the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center. The event was made possible thanks to the support of USA Wrestling and Coach Terry Steiner for Team USA and Team Leader and Head Coach Toshihiro Naritomi for Team Japan.
Prior to the completion between Japan and the USA, Beat the Streets Los Angeles wrestlers and sisters Brianna and Emilie Gonzalez from our Pico Rivera program wrestled an exhibition match with Olympic medalists Helen Maroulis (Gold, 2016 Rio) and Clarissa Chun (Bronze, 2012 London) in their corners as guest coaches.
The exhibition match and USA vs Japan competition served to highlight the continuing emergence of women’s wrestling both internationally and locally in Los Angeles. Currently, over 25% of student-athletes that participate in our Beat the Streets programs are girls – a remarkable achievement.
Before, during, and after the event, scores of volunteers worked in myriad ways to ensure the event ran smoothly, and their efforts showed. Approximately 1,000 spectators overflowed the stands to enjoy the competition.
Following the competition, the 4th Annual Benefit reception took place at the Japanese American National Museum to celebrate the accomplishments of Beat the Streets Los Angeles and to raise funds for our programs in the upcoming year.
Along with the ever-popular donor wall and silent auction items, the benefit reception featured live auction and the premiere of the video Tomorrow’s Leaders, directed by Kholi Hicks and produced by Shintaro Shimosawa and Jasper Oltman. This video features Beat the Streets Los Angeles student-athletes, partners, staff, and board members describing in their own words the impact that Beat the Streets Los Angeles has in the lives of youth.
At Beat the Streets Los Angeles, our mission is to empower and transform the lives of youth through the sport of wrestling. Thanks to your support, we will continue to do this year and for years and years to come.