For the first time since its inclusion in the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896, the sport of wrestling, for now, will not be a part of the Olympics after the 2016 games.
The hot-bed of wrestling is here in the Midwest. Iowa has an especially deep history in the sport. So, its understandable that wrestlers we spoke with disagree with the decision of the International Olympic Committee. "The fact that they would consider dropping that, is kind of a slap to the face to the Olympics in general," North High Head Coach John Torno added.
With sports like the modern pentathlon, taekwondo and field hockey, events that were also up for exclusion from the games remaining in the Olympics, the decision to cut wrestling has left those involved in the sport scratching their heads. "You know, people who follow the Olympics, you see some of the addition of these sports like table tennis, badminton, some of these other sports that are very more discrete and not so heard of, makes one wonder if those are Olympic sports, or back yard fun games," Torno said. "It's kind of upsetting," Morningside senior John Sievert said. "People love wrestling around here. It's what we look forward to for the Olympics, at least what I look forward to. That's the only thing I pay attention to."
Analyzing 39 criteria, including television ratings, ticket sales and global participation, led the IOC Executive Board to its decision to eliminate wrestling. "It's hard for me to understand that," Morningside Head Coach Jake Stevenson said. "I mean, obviously they're talking about global TV ratings. There's athletes from Russia, Japan, that are doing really well and it's hard for me to believe that their countries aren't behind them."
The consequences of the sports exclusion from the world's greatest sporting stage, has given grapplers mixed feelings on the sport's future. "It's going to take away from the youth," Sievert said. "Kids aren't going to want to go out for wrestling because there is nothing to look forward to now. There's nothing after college, except for going into the UFC or MMA." "I don't think it'll hurt college wrestling at all. People wrestle not because there is something afterwards. Anyone who chooses to continue to wrestle, loves the sport. I think that'll keep college wrestling just how it is today."
There is a possibility for wrestling to return to the 2020 Olympic games. The IOC will vote on eight sports, including wrestling for inclusion in the 2020 games.
Wrestlers call IOC decision to drop wrestling after 2016 Olympics "a slap in the face"More>>
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