Editorial: No wrestling? Unthinkable!
The International Olympic Committee, a governing body that includes five princes, three princesses, a duke, a count, a sheik, a knight and a raja, has done the unthinkable. In search of better television ratings, more marketable sports stars and cool new sports, the committee, in a secret ballot, voted to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games.
Wrestling is one of the original Olympic games and the deciding event of the ancient Greek pentathlon. It’s absurd to think that it does not deserve to be among the games’ 25 “core” sports. Unlike many other sports featured in the Olympics, basketball, boxing or tennis, for example, wrestling does not have a higher level of competition than the Olympics. It is the pinnacle. Chopping off the top would rob more than a quarter-million high school wrestlers in the United States alone of hopes for Olympic glory.
To eliminate wrestling would dishonor the long history of the Olympics and move the games more in the direction of spectacle, rather than true competition. Wrestling now has to vie with wakeboarding, rock climbing, the martial art wushu, baseball and softball, squash and roller skating for a slot as one of the game’s non-core sports. Meanwhile, the IOC continues to count curling – skidding a stone down the ice – and the Las Vegas-like spectacle of synchronized ribbon dancing and other marginal sports as core games.
The Olympic committee should reconsider its decision, and the world’s nations should reconsider the rules that govern the Olympic committee and its makeup.