Last month, the U.S. women’s wrestling team came in third place at the world championships in Budapest. Women have teams on a number of college campuses. Girls wrestling is one of the fastest growing high school sports in the U.S. New York City even started an entire season dedicated to girls freestyle wrestling. So why can’t 16-year-old Amanda Leve wrestle on her school’s brand new wrestling team? Because she’s a girl.
Leve is a junior at Archbishop Ryan High School in Philadelphia. After school she can be found practicing Brazilian Jujitsu – a sport in which she regularly competes (and often wins) against boys. Rather than rely on strength, she uses speed and technique to get her opponents to submit as this video – with over 700,000 views demonstrates.
This self-professed tomboy has a younger brother but dad Michael says his daughter was the only one who shared his passion for martial arts and ultimate fighting.
Her father Michael Leve told FOX 29. “To see the dedication she has makes me proud”
Now Amanda wants to show off her skills on Archbishop Ryan’s new wrestling team.
She believes wrestling will help land her a college scholarship, but her Catholic school wasn’t on board with the idea of her joining the team.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia tells FOX 29 wrestling is a full contact sport open to boys only and this rule is in place to make sure the sport is safe for everyone who participates.
The Archdiocese also says this rule reflects the catholic teaching that gender differences are important and play a role in the development of mature Christian identity.
Amanda says all she wants a chance to compete and win.
“When you win it’s an incredible feeling, all your hard work paid off, you live for that moment you get your hand raised,” Amanda said.
Amanda’s dad says the school hasn’t completely ruled out the idea of a girl joining the wrestling team. He says the archbishops will meet in April to discuss the matter, but by then the wrestling season will be over.
Why should Leve have to wait? Help her out by signing this Change.org petition: