Wrestling dropped from the Olympics? Give me a break
All Olympic sports. Yet, come 2020, wrestling likely will not be.
In what is probably one of the stupidest decisions in the history of human existence, the International Olympic Committee voted to remove wrestling from its program starting in with the 2020 games.
We’re talking about a sport that not only dates back to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, but the very first Olympics in 708 BC.
A sport that is competition in its purest form. Two guys – or girls since 2008 – locked in hand-to-hand combat in a test of strength, technique and athleticism.
A sport that is popular worldwide. Seventy-one nations competed in wrestling at the 2012 games with 29 earning medals.
A sport that literally millions of kids worldwide start at the youngest of ages, along the way learning great values of competition and sportsmanship. Can the same really be said of modern pentathlon?
With golf and rugby joining the schedule for 2016, there are 28 Olympic sports. OK, so something had to go to make room for something else to come in.
The only thing stupider than the decision is listening to the IOC trying to justify it.
According to IOC documents, the decision was based on several factors including TV ratings, ticket sales, global participation, anti-doping policies and many others. Sorry, but I’m failing to see how wrestling comes at the bottom of the list in any of those.
What about cycling, which probably has the worst drug problem of any sport on the planet?
What about badminton, that had to kick out competitors last summer for throwing matches?
Oh, one other thing on badminton. Any “sport” that most often is played while drunk at a cookout should not be in the Olympics. Might as well add bocce and lawn darts then.
I don’t have the exact figures in front of me, but I’m willing to bet wrestling drew more attendance and higher TV ratings than sailing.
Global participation? I would love for someone to say with a straight face that there isn’t as much global participation in wrestling as there is in ping-pong – oh, my bad, table tennis.
Apparently the vote on which sport to ax came down to wrestling and modern pentathlon.
Wrestling had higher ratings, sold more tickets and has more countries as members of its governing body than modern pentathlon.
Another argument is that the Olympics are trying to make the games more modern and gain more fans.
Trust me, the only thing modern about modern pentathlon is the name. The sport was invented by a French Baron in the early 1900s to combine fencing, horse riding, swimming, running and shooting, all the skills needed to be a calvary officer.
That’ll pull in the youngsters.
Why did modern pentathlon get saved? Here’s just a guess. One of the sport’s top officials is Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., the son of the former IOC head.
Now I’m not saying that played a role in the decision. I mean, come on, the IOC has never had any history of bribery scandals or anything of the such right?
Wrestling now has to lobby for its rightful place in the games along with seven other sports. Let’s have a look.
* Baseball/softball – I actually have no arguments with those, they should never have been removed in the first place.
* Karate – Taekwondo and judo already are sports, considered separate sports mind you. So do we really need karate as well?
Actually that brings up another point: If the IOC is so keen on its set number of sports, why don’t we just combine. Take taekwondo and judo, throw in karate, call it martial arts and boom, three sports are now one. Rowing and canoeing are separate sports. Please, how much of a difference is there really between those?
OK, back to the list.
* Roller sports – Yes, Olympic X Games. Why not?
* Squash – Seriously?
* Wakebording – See roller sports.
* Sport climbing – That’s a sport?
* Wushu – I’m not even going to pretend I know what that is.
It’s simply a travesty that wrestling was voted out of the Olympics, and I can only hope it finds its way back in.
It saddens me to look at local wrestling talents like Kyle Kwiat and Seth Williams, and the millions of kids just like them, not only in this country but around the world. It saddens me that despite being incredibly talented, they might never have the opportunity to reach what has been the pinnacle of their sport for over 100 years.
Wrestling embodies what they Olympic spirit is supposed to be. Modern pentathlon, simply, does not.