IOC must reinstate wrestling into Olympics

The mass appeal of the Summer Olympic Games is that it allows athletes from all over the world to compete in the most basic of athletic feats that are recognized universally.

It is strange that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would drop wrestling as a sport at the Summer Olympics effective for the 2020 games. The same wrestling that was a part of the original Olympic Games thousands of years ago in ancient Greece will potentially be out of the 2020 Olympics.

Technically, wrestling still has a chance to be a part of the 2020 games. The sport of wrestling can reapply, but now it must compete with a handful of other sports for only one opening.

There are many reasons the decision to drop wrestling makes zero sense.

If you have not attended a wrestling match at AU you are certainly missing out. Wrestling embodies both the physical and mental aspects that make sport so appealing.

Wrestlers all possess superior levels of strength and athleticism. Yet a great wrestler must also be a great tactician and technician. With such a short period of time in comparison to other team sports, each wrestling match offers high levels of intensity.

“The basic meaning of sport is that any human being has a fair playing field,” AU wrestling Coach Teague Moore said. “The sport of wrestling offers that.”

Yet the real villain here is not wrestling, but rather the IOC.

Wrestling is a global sport. In the latest 2012 Summer Games more than 300 wrestlers from 29 countries took home medals. Compare that with the modern pentathlon which had only 26 countries participate and maintained its spot in the Olympics.

Then there are the sports which were not dropped such as the equestrian, or my favorite, golf. Those events require a lot of skill, but neither is really a sport.

Meanwhile, wrestling will have to fight it out with sports such as karate, squash and baseball, which are all deserving of a slot.

Coming from someone who is counting down the days until opening day, I still think wrestling should win a spot over baseball.

The IOC has suggested that the Olympics needs to become more modern, and wrestling reflected too much of the traditional games. In the wake of the decision, leaders from Iran, Russia and the United States have collectively been discussing how to reinstate wrestling into the Summer Olympics.

If only I went to a school which could explain the significance of those three countries working together — on anything.

There is no doubt that the Olympics will continue to draw in viewers if wrestling is not reinstated. While it is commendable for the IOC to look toward the future, it also needs to recognize the sports that made the Olympics what they are today.

esaltzman@theeagleonline.com

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