The International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted on Monday to drop wrestling starting in the 2020 Summer Games, to make room for the a new event. The ruling came as a shock to many people who were expecting modern pentathlon to be the sport excluded.
Modern pentathlon is made up of: pistol shooting, fencing, 200 m freestyle swim, show jumping and 3 km cross country run. While some people may take these events very seriously, they do not prove much athletically.
The Olympic Games are a series of competitions designed to prove athletic dominance among the countries of the world. If you ask me, wrestling would be one of the first sports to prove dominance.
The first Modern Olympic Games that were governed by the IOC were held in 1896. Wrestling was one of the first games’ events, and has been ever since. Olympic wrestling has created some of the most dominant olympians of all time.
In the 1996 Atlanta games, U.S. wrestler Kurt Angle won the gold medal at the heavyweight division, despite two fractured vertebrae and a herniated disk. To this day, his triumph makes for one of the greatest stories of triumph in the Olympic Games.
Michael Phelps recently set the record for the most gold medals won, but many believe that he is not the most dominant olympian. Many will make the case that Russian wrestler, Aleksander Karelin deserves the distinction. He put up the most dominant streaks in the history of wrestling.
At one point, Karelin went 13 years without losing a single match. Within that streak, there were six years that he did not allow a single point in a match.
Within that streak, Karelin won gold in the 1988, 1993, and 1996 olympic games. He finally lost a match at the 2000 games and went home a silver medalist.
Take a look at the IOC’s website, one of their roles is to, “To encourage and support the development of sport for all.”
If wrestling does not win their petition and is in fact eliminated from the 2020 games, the complete opposite will happen to the sport.
As it stands now, when a dominant wrestler leaves college, they either start training for the olympics, or try to make a career in professional MMA. If the olympics are eliminated there will only be one option, and many wrestlers do not have the desire to try a completely different sport.
If there are less avenues for wrestlers to compete professionally, then the desire to compete in college will go decrease. This has already been shown by the recent dropping of a wrestling program by Cal State Fullerton.
If wrestling programs are dropped from colleges, then high school wrestling will also be effected.
Why try to make high school harder on yourself by adding physically demanding wrestling practice if you are not going to compete at a higher level?
It would be a shame to eliminate a sport that teaches so many people about discipline and hard work.
Wrestling will be allowed to petition for the 2020 games, but it will be against a lot of big sports. The IOC has made a huge mistake with this ruling, and if wrestling does not win its petition, the sport may be eliminated completely.