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Save Olympic Wrestling
By Sally Haase
F
eb. 18, 2013


               It happens every few years, the International Olympic Committee will
decide if they would like to add new sports to the summer or winter games.  If they
decide to add a new sport, another is eliminated.  I remember when it was decided
by the IOC that baseball and softball would be eliminated as Olympic sports and
how mad I was.  I thought it was just a way to eliminate a sport that the Americans
dominate, silly, I know but I was young, give me a break.  But now I see that it was
because baseball and softball are not as popular in all parts of the world like other
Olympic sports are.  But, this new decision by the IOC is puzzling.  Last week the
IOC announced that wrestling would be eliminated starting with the 2020 games.  

               What?! Wrestling has been apart of the Olympic Games since the modern
games started in 1896 and has been in every Summer Olympics with the exception
of the 1900 games.  It was also introduced way back in 708 BC in the Ancient
Olympic Games.  This sport is a cornerstone of the Olympics and is elimination is
just plain wrong.  The games need a classic sport like wrestling for it to still feel like
an Olympics, I know the games need and should change with the times as other
sports become mainstream and popular but you eliminate one of the fad sports.  
There are plenty of other sports that could and should have been eliminated before
wrestling even came up in the discussions.  Badminton and power walking are two
sports that come to mind, and after the debacle in the badminton tournament in
London with teams throwing games for a lower seeding; cutting badminton would
have been a good punishment for the sport and the teams. Power walking speaks
for itself, great activity and exercise, but not something I would consider a sport.  

               Wrestling is still popular all around the world with many participating
countries competing on the World stage and many countries are in double digits in
medals won.  It is a sport that is not dominated by just a handful of countries
although two of the top three all time medal winners are usual suspects with the
Soviet Union in first place and the United States in second; Sweden rounds out the
top three.  The sport also became gender equal with the addition of women’s
wrestling in the 2004 games, giving only one generation of women the chance to be
Olympic wrestlers.  I think about all the young men and women who are wrestling
and had the summer of 2020 on their minds; all the practice and conditioning they
have gone through and to the parents who made their own sacrifices for their child
so he or she can reach the pinnacle of their wrestling career and achieve their
Olympic dream.  And if you are not planning on joining Vince McMahon’s WWE,
your wrestling career usually ends at the Olympics.   

               It’s hard for me to believe that the IOC will reverse the ruling, but it could
happen, and we can get their attention by contacting the IOC to let them know we do
not agree with the decision.  If they get bombarded with enough calls, emails,
letters, and tweets it will show the IOC that there is still an interest and passion for
Olympic wrestling and maybe they will reverse the decision.

               You can contact the IOC at www.olympic.org     

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