IOC Cuts Wrestling from Olympic Games; Was it the Right Call?
LAUSANNE – Tuesday morning, the International Olympic Committee dropped wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games. Wrestling was first part of the modern Olympics in 1896 and part of the ancient games in Olympia.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters, “This is not the end of the process, this is purely a recommendation. It is the session which is sovereign. It was a decision to look at the core sports, what works best for the Olympic games. This was the best programme for the 2020 Olympics. This is not about what’s wrong with wrestling, but what is good for the games.”
Adams went on to say, “”This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics. “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.”
He added, “Today’s decision is not final. The session is sovereign, and the session will make the final decision.”
In an article published on Reuters the pentathlon, taekwondo, field hockey, and wrestling were all considered for elimination, but wrestling wasn’t strongly represented in the IOC’s decision-making body.
Cutting wrestling came as a shock after in the 2012 Olympic games, wrestling had 344 athletes from 71 countries competing in greco-roman and freestyle wrestling. 344 athletes competed in 11 medal events in freestyle, and seven in Greco-Roman in London last year.
The pentathlon, which was considering to be cut had athletes from only 26 countries. Wrestling had 45 more countries compete in its sport.
For the 2020 Olympic games, the IOC has elected 25 of 26 core sports, that includes rugby and golf, which will make their first Olympic appearance in 2016.
Wrestling is the third sport cut since baseball and softball were cut in 2005.
In May, the IOC executive board will meet to determine whether wrestling, baseball, softball, martial arts karate and wushu, rollersports, wakeboarding, squash and sports climbing will be voted on in September.
Cutting wrestling is a shock, considering it is one of the oldest sports in Olympic history. Wrestling still has active participation from over 71 countries in the world, and it will be missed. Let’s hope the IOC adds this historic sport back into the Olympic games.