The International Olympic Committee released some shocking news Tuesday when they announced amateur wrestling would be dropped from competition starting in 2020.
I’m sure that to the common fan, this isn’t that big of deal. Most casual Olympic fans probably don’t even watch wrestling. I get that, but this is a sport that epitomizes what individual competition is all about.
You’re telling me that the modern pentathlon, badminton, table tennis and taekwondo are all more important Olympic sports to keep around? Wrestling lost to all of these sports and now will be lumped into a pool with baseball, softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu to fight for the one remaining spot in the games.
Wrestling has been a part of the games since the modern version began in 1896 and it’s one of the sports I most closely associate with Olympic competition. I believe wrestling to be the greatest individual sport of them all. No athletes give more or sacrifice more to their sport than wrestlers do.
The thing I hate the most out of all of this is that removing the Olympics for wrestlers will end many of their careers after college. There is no real pro wrestling. Once college is over for wrestlers it’s basically international competition, start coaching or get a real job. The highest level of competition for these athletes is the Olympic games and the chance to win a gold medal. It’s their chance to show they’re the best in world at their weight. As of now, that’s gone.
When you get right down to it, wrestling is the most basic of all human competition. It’s a sport that should always have a place in the Olympics.
I’m sure that money is somehow involved in all of this and there are even rumors that members of the IOC have connections to the pentathlon, which may have contributed to wrestling being chopped.
Whatever the case, we haven’t heard the last of this story. The final vote to eliminate wrestling will come in September and you can bet that wrestling enthusiasts across the globe will be raising some cain in the meantime.
I leave you with Olympic gold medalist and current Iowa wrestling head coach Tom Brands and his thoughts on the situation: