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
Local

Tattooed, bearded suspect sought in Williamsburg bike theft:…

The suspected thief faces grand larceny charges after investigators said he entered the building on North 5th Street at around 8:50 p.m.

Local

Report: Rich New Yorkers don't move from NYC…

An Independent Budget Office analysis found that the wealthiest residents don't move out of the city any more or less than other New Yorkers.

National

Pioneers for domestic violence push on

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. Two decades have passed since the O.J. Simpson trial captivated the country. But in the 20 years…

Local

Newest java joint in bastion of hipness is…

Little may represent the change the neighborhood is undergoing right now like the arrival of the first Starbucks. The chain which is ubiquitous in Manhattan, opened a Williamsburg store at…

Movies

Review: Liking Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'…

Woody Allen's latest, "Magic in the Moonlight," concerns a magician (Colin Firth) trying to debunk an alleged psychic (Emma Stone).

Movies

Piano from 'Casablanca' up for sale at auction

An iconic piano featured in Rick's Cafe Americain in the 1942 Hollywood classic "Casablanca" is expected to be the highlight of a sale of film…

Music

Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks more accessible than Animal…

Believe it or not, Avey Tare — the man in the mustachioed mask pictured here in the pool of blood — may have made the poppiest music of his career.

Movies

Interview: Michael Douglas likes playing jerks, like in…

"And So It Goes" star Michael Douglas talks about being shocked that he never does period movies and opens up about Edgar Wright leaving "Ant-Man."

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

MLB

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report

NFL

Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony talks about his charity work in…

As he is used to doing every year, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony is going to visit Puerto Rico to do work for his foundation.

Tech

RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."

Tech

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…

Tech

Ulises 1 is the world's first singing satellite

A group of artists and engineers in Mexico have unveiled Ulises 1, the world's first opera-singing satellite.

Home

Wallscape on a budget

Skip the wallpaper and ombre an accent wall instead.

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.