Saturday, February 16, 2013

Olympic Games: IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympic Games

The IOC made a controversial decision on Tuesday, as the body voted to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games. The move is surprising, as the event has been a staple ever since the Games' inception in 1896. Not to mention the fact that wrestling was one of the principle events of the original Greek games held more than 2,000 years ago.

Three other events were considered to be dropped, including field hockey, the modern pentathlon and taekwondo. All three of these events seemed to be more at risk than wrestling of being eliminated, particularly the modern pentathlon. According to multiple sources such as Fox Sports and the Huffington Post, all four of the considered events were suffering from declining television ratings.

Wrestling will be able to seek re-inclusion though, as it now joins seven other sports in applying for inclusion in 2020. The others are a combined bid from baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. They will be vying for the single opening that is available in 2020.

As stated by the Huffington Post, the IOC program commission report analyzed more than three dozen criteria including television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy, global participation and popularity. With no official rankings or recommendations contained in the report, the final decision by the board was also subject to political, emotional and sentimental factors.

The decision is under heavy scrutiny from the wrestling community, with many prominent figures of the sport speaking on the matter.

"Something's underhanded here, and I don't like it," Scott Casber, who hosts a nationally syndicated television and radio show on wrestling, told "It just cries out 'dirty player' to me. How can you take a sport as weak and ill-conceived as modern pentathlon and pick it instead of wrestling? I'm just heartbroken over this whole thing."

1996 gold medal winner and Pittsburgh native Kurt Angle provided a comprehensive interview on the matter with Jonathan Snowden of the Bleacher Report.

"I believe wrestling represents the whole Olympic experience," he said. "It has everything. Strength, speed, finesse. I don't think anything has more technique."

The public outcry has also been impressive, as the subject has trended on Twitter and a popular hash tag has even been spawned, #SaveOlympicWrestling.

Personally, I feel similarly to Angle. The Olympics has never been known as a clean organization, and has been mired in its fair share of controversy ever since its reintroduction over 100 years ago.

Things are changing. More and more sports are being considered due to rise in popularity and should rightfully be considered for an Olympic program spot. But I, along with many, am still a firm believer in tradition. With such a storied sport such as wrestling now on the chopping block, the IOC needs to realize that some events need to supersede revenue. While wrestling many never be as popular as it once was, it is still one of the most participated in events in the whole games, and that alone should save it from elimination.

There will be plenty of rallying by the wrestling community from now until the IOC makes its final program decisions in September. For the sake of the storied and traditional sport, I hope it will reclaim the final spot, where it rightfully belongs.

source by Thepnn


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