In November 2000, Rich Bender was named as acting executive director for USA Wrestling, and was selected as the permanent executive director in February 2001, a position he has held since. He has been a full-time employee with USA Wrestling for more than 30 years, starting his career with USA Wrestling as a U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee intern in July 1988. Prior to his current position, Bender served as the associate executive director of programs, where he oversaw USA Wrestling’s events, national teams and developmental programs activities. He previously served as USA Wrestling’s national events director, managing the organization’s regional, national and international events. Bender helped guide USA Wrestling through the COVID-19 pandemic, developing a number of special committees of experts that assisted the organization in all aspects of its management of the crisis. USA Wrestling was able to bring the sport back safely at all of its levels, while maintaining the financial stability of the organization, putting the sport in position to continue to grow in the future. Bender was elected to the USOPC Board of Directors in 2019 and was elected as the chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s National Governing Body Council in 2010 and re-elected in 2012.