Wrestling is considered the favorite to be reinstated by the International Olympic Committee to the Olympic lineup.
We're still almost three years away from the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, but a major decision regarding the future of one of its oldest sports, wrestling, will be made very soon.
"In my mind, I didn't think there was every really a chance it would be dropped, " said Joe Privitere, Briar Cliff Wrestling Coach.
That was the sentiment shared by wrestling athletes, coaches, and fans all over the country over the exclusion of wrestling from the Olympics after the 2016 games. But it might not be long before we see Olympians hit the mats again. The International Olympic Committee will vote Sunday on whether to reinstate the sport into the Olympic lineup, a vote that also includes squash, baseball, and softball. To help its cause, wrestling has taken measures to improve its chances of being revived, including changing the rules to make it more understandable.
"As a coach watching the Olympics, I love it," Morningside wrestling coach Jake Stevenson said. "There's a lot more action, it's a lot more viewer-friendly, and a lot more excitement happens in the matches."
"The landscape of wrestling in seven months is completely different," said Privitere said. "I think the rules will help. Men are losing two weight classes and women are gaining two to fulfill that gender equity. In a test run, the rules were great."
With the IOC vote looming, fans of wrestling hold their collective breath over the sport's Olympic fate. And in Iowa, the vote could relieve or devastate a state full of wrestling supporters.
"It's definitely a sport that Iowa lives and breathes," Stevenson said. "You've got the Iowa Hawkeyes, who have been one of the most successful wrestling teams in collegiate athletics, so wrestling's definitely special to Iowa."
Both Stevenson and Privitere believe wrestling could survive without an Olympic platform. And they agree on another point:
"I don't really think there's any possibility of it not being reinstated," Stevenson said.
"Wrestling will be back," Privitere adds.
The IOC's official vote will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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