Wrestling in shock as IOC votes to axe it from Olympic Games

General view of the action from the Greco-Roman Wrestling Pool Elimination at the Exhibition Halls in Darling Harbour on Day Nine of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Credit: Getty Images
General view of the action from the Greco-Roman Wrestling Pool Elimination at the Exhibition Halls in Darling Harbour on Day Nine of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
Credit: Getty Images

Wrestling was in a state of shock after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made a surprise recommendation on Tuesday to drop the sport from the 2020 Games.

Contested in the first modern Olympics in 1896 and part of the ancient Games in Olympia, wrestling will now join seven other candidate sports battling for one spot in a revamped program.

It is unlikely, however, that it will get a reprieve when the IOC session in Buenos Aires votes on the recommendation in September.

“This is not the end of the process, this is purely a recommendation,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters following an Executive Board meeting. “It is the session which is sovereign.

“It was a decision to look at the core sports, what works best for the Olympic games. This was the best program for the 2020 Olympics. This is not about what’s wrong with wrestling but what is good for the Games.”

The vote came as a major surprise after other sports, including modern pentathlon and taekwondo, were seen as at risk of losing out due to their lower global appeal.

“FILA was greatly astonished by today’s recommendation of the IOC Executive Board not to maintain wrestling among the 25 core sports for the 2020 Olympic Games,” the international wrestling federation said in a statement.

It said the federation was represented in 180 countries, “with wrestling being the national sport in a fair amount of them and the only possibility for athletes to represent their country at the Olympic Games, thus contributing to their universality.

“FILA will take all necessary measures to convince the IOC… of the aberration of such decision against one of the founding sports of the ancient and modern Olympic Games,” it said, adding it would meet next week to discuss its next steps.

Board members were given a report on each of the Olympic sports which provided details on 39 criteria such as popularity, finances, tickets sold and governance, before a secret vote.

“There were different rounds of voting necessary to come to this conclusion,” said IOC Vice President Thomas Bach. “It is an extremely difficult decision to take.”

“I cannot look into the heads of my colleagues. Such a decision is never based on one single reason. It is always a series of reasons. Of course different members take a different approach.”

“The common understanding is the purpose of this was to modernize, to look into the future of the Olympics,” added Bach, a potential IOC presidential candidate later this year.

While pentathlon and taekwondo have the support of senior IOC members, wrestling is not strongly represented in the IOC’s decision-making body.

SECRET BALLOT

IOC sources told Reuters that in the secret ballot there were four sports battling to avoid the cut: field hockey, modern pentathlon, taekwondo and wrestling.

“I am very surprised by the result,” board member and president of the International ice hockey federation Rene Fasel told Reuters. “Personally, I do not know why but that is what the majority wanted.”

The IOC said 25 of the 26 Olympic sports were elected as core sports for the 2020 Games which will also include rugby and golf, making their first appearance in 2016.

Wrestling joins baseball and softball, making a joint bid, martial arts karate and wushu, rollersports, wakeboarding, squash and sports climbing as candidates for the one empty spot.

Baseball and softball were taken off the program in 2005.

The IOC executive board will meet in St Petersburg in May to determine which of these will be put to the vote in September.

Wrestling had 344 athletes at the London Olympics, competing in greco-roman and freestyle disciplines. Women’s events were introduced at the Athens 2004 Olympics.

 MAJOR BLOW
Russian wrestling federation chief Mikhail Mamiashvili was shocked by the decision but was confident his sport would remain in the Games.

“I’m absolutely convinced this ancient sport will retain its status,” Mamiashvili, who won an Olympic gold medal in 1988, told Reuters.

“But FILA (the world amateur wrestling federation), the whole wrestling community must take a more active role in the process. We need to make some drastic changes in the sport, make it more attractive, especially for TV audience,” he said.

Olympic exclusion will be a major blow to the sport’s popularity and financial stability as the Games are a global platform for the promotion of smaller, less established sports.

“It is very unfortunate,” Satpal Singh, coach of India’s twice Olympic medal winner Sushil Kumar, told Reuters. “It is being played from the first Olympics and is played all over the world.”

International Modern Pentathlon Union president Klaus Schormann welcomed the news.

“In the last few years we acted and took decisions to make our sport more telegenic and more compact,” Schormann told Reuters. “So every good news is further motivation for us.”

Madrid, Tokyo and Istanbul are bidding to host the 2020 Olympics with a decision also to be taken in September.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…

International

British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…

Local

DA: Homeless man severely beat by men in…

Two former college football players pleaded not guilty to the alleged severe beating of a homeless man in Allston earlier this year.

National

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Going Out

Thursty: Revamped Audubon is back in action

Having been a long time fan of Trina's Starlite Lounge in Inman Square, one of my only complaints about the place is that there's only…

Entertainment

Here's what to do in Boston this weekend

MUSIC Huun Huur Tu Friday, 8 p.m. First Church in Cambridge 11 Garden St., Cambridge $28, 617-876-4275 www.worldmusic.org This group comes from the tiny nation…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox top Yankees, 5-1

John Lackey shines, Pineda ejected in Red Sox win

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings Game 4 preview: Boston…

Bruins - Red Wings Game 4 preview: Boston greedy for more dominance

MLB

Fantasy baseball: Searching for early season prospects

It’s relatively rare for a mediocre 30-year-old hitter to suddenly go nuts offensively for 162 games. That’s why minor league prospects are so exciting.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."

Comments

1

  1. You made several good points there. I did a search on the theme and found most folks will go along with with your blog.