International Olympic Committee Has Cut Wrestling from the 2020 Olympics
The month of February proved to be an unfortunate one for all the wrestling fans in the world as the International Olympic Committee has cut wrestling out from the Olympics.
The news shocked wrestlers all around the world as they considered the sport, as old as the Olympics themselves, to be popular all around the world. The unforeseen decision was made by a secret ballot during a meeting on the 12th of February, Tuesday by the IOC.
While wrestling is still included in the 2016 Olympic games to be held in Rio De Janeiro, they have been cut out from the Olympics 2020, the host city for which has not yet been announced.
Past Olympic Wrestling champions have called the decision “mind boggling” as stated by Russian champion, Khasan Baroev in an interview: “I just can’t believe it. And what sport will then be added to the Olympic program? What sport is worthy of replacing ours? Wrestling is popular in many countries-just see how the medals were distributed at the last Olympics.”
The board had to review the 26 sports on its program to remove one of them and add a new one later. All the sports on the list were analyzed by 39 criteria including TV ratings, popularity and international participation. Wrestling unfortunately lacked low in several of the criteria including its relative unpopularity at the London Olympics 2012.
“This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said in an interview with ESPN. “In the view of the executive board, this was the best program for the Olympic Games in 2020. It’s not a case of what’s wrong with wrestling; it is what’s right with the 25 core sports.”
While wrestling has always been a traditional sport at the olympics and is said to have been featured at the first original olympics in athens in 1896, today’s olympics games have come a long way from just being a tradition.
In the words of Wrestling champion Wade Schalles: “Wrestling internationally is not fun to watch, in my opinion. Some people would disagree with me. Today, wrestling is so slippery because of the perspiration. Half of your moves you can’t get because you slip off the guy, which then keeps the scoring low, takes away the excitement from the crowd.”
Since the Olympics have now become a major TV event, considerations such as the popularity and money value of any sport are important considerations that cannot indeed be overlooked by the IOC, which ultimately is a profit organization.
It is hard to say what impact this decision would have on the wrestling sport at national, school and college levels, as the prized olympic gold medal has been a motivating factor for wrestlers all around the world.