On Tuesday, the International Olympics Committee voted to remove wrestling from its 25 core sports for the 2020 Olympic Games.
Greco-Roman wrestling has been a part of the Olympics ever since 1896 and has been held in every session of the Summer Olympics since 1908. Wrestling was also a part of the Ancient Olympic Games in Olympia.
Needless to say, the recent turn of events shocked and awed the wrestling community at all levels from high school to the highest international levels.
“I don’t like it,” senior 184-pounder Ben Bennett said. “International wrestling is something I’ll pursue after college. It’s hard when it’s your sport, but you don’t like to see any sport at that level be taken out.”
For a wrestler like Bennett, his one opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games would be in 2016. However, there will be a vote for appeal for the 2020 Olympic Games.
Wrestling is among seven other sports that hang in the balance of being a part of the reorganized 25 core sports for the Summer Olympics.
Many in the wrestling community believe that the committee is trying to modernize the Olympic Games and wrestling, being one of the oldest sports, no longer fits.
“I think it is money driven,” said head coach Tom Borrelli. “They are trying to modernize the Olympics to appeal to a younger audience. Wrestling is a gladiator sport and doesn’t have much appeal anymore.”
To complete this vote, the committee members were given reports on each of the Olympic sports that gave numbers based on popularity, ticket sales, anti-doping, etc.
“It was a decision to look at the core sports and what works best for the Olympic Games,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “This was the best program for the 2020 Olympics. This is not about what’s wrong with wrestling but what is good for the Games.”
Borrelli said, it will not harm participation in high school and college wrestling because such a small percentage of college wrestlers will go on to compete in the Olympics.
“It’s disappointing to take a sport out that might be the most historic in mankind, except for maybe running,” Borrelli said.
This is a decision that has swept the wrestling community. Now coaches, wrestlers and trainers have to wrestle their way back into the Olympic Games by winning the appeal in 2020.