On Tuesday the International Olympic Committee made one of the most baffling decisions ever made by any sports governing body by voting wrestling out of it’s “core” 25 sports.
I am not a wrestler. I have no real connections to the sport other than covering dozens of duals and tournaments. But has world sports history enthusiast, this decision leaves me angry and worried about the future of the Olympics.
The IOC said on its website: “In an effort to ensure the Olympic Games remain relevant to sports fans of all generations, the Olympic Programme Commission systematically reviews every sport following each edition of the Games.”
In last summer’s games, 29 different nations won medals. How much more popular or relevant can you get?
There are reason why the IOC voted the way they did; politics and weak attendance played a part. But you are still the OLYMPICS an celebration of world sport and international cooperation, not just a clearing house of TV and ad revenue.
Although NFL star wide receiver Roddy White used a poor choice of words in his outrage over the decision, I agree with him wholeheartedly.
If you want a more eloquent defense of wrestling, read Chicago Tribune writer Steven H. Biondolillo’s wonderful piece where he says: “… the most important thing to contemplate is that wrestling is not just mankind’s oldest sport. It is, in fact, the very metaphor for sport itself. How is it, then, that the IOC — the standard-bearer of all sport — is killing, in the Olympic Games, sport itself?”
“These reactions, they are quite normal,” IOC Vice President Thomas Bach in a story by Reuters. “This would have happened with any decision. You have to find the right balance between tradition and progress. This was a decision about core sports and nothing more,” he said of Tuesday’s vote that cut the core Olympic sports from 26 to 25, leaving out wrestling.”
Wrestling, in terms historical significance, is one of the most “core” of all the Olympic sports. I would say it is one of the top 5 “core” sports.
Luckily, not all is lost. FILA can compete with seven other sports (baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and the martial art of wushu) to be included in the 2020 games. IOC President Jacques Rogge will meet with FILA to discus keeping wrestling.