The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made a grave mistake and eliminated wrestling from the Olympic games after 2016, causing a huge backlash that’s only getting started. Perhaps you are not familiar with the significance of wrestling (as appears to be the case with the IOC), but wrestling is one of the oldest sports known to man — and one of the most exciting. Personally, I have met and worked with countless wrestlers, wrestling coaches, and various others involved in this great sport and am shocked at the thought of wrestling not being a part of the Olympics.
Dropping wrestling seems to be an incredibly short-sighted decision by the IOC, regardless of what sport(s) they replace wrestling with for 2020 (seems like golf is the choice). While some mens college wrestling programs have been eliminated in recent years due to budget cuts and Title IX concerns, more womens programs have developed, and youth wrestling continues to grow in popularity, too, giving even more reason to keep wrestling as an Olympic sport.
I have great respect and admiration for the wrestling community, and have witnessed firsthand how much this sport helps young athletes (boys and girls) develop invaluable athletic transferable skills that help them with so many things beyond wrestling. Wrestlers learn early the importance of both physical and mental toughness, focus, confidence development, motivation, and resiliency (to name a few important skills0. For the IOC to drop wrestling, and thereby give the impression to kids that wrestling isn’t important or worthy of world competition, is appalling.
Personally, I hope the IOC does a 180 on this decision and comes back to their senses – Olympic wrestling is a great spectator sport that allows us to see some of the world’s finest athletes that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise without the Olympics. Millions of kids have pursued wrestling after watching the Olympics, and it saddens me that after 2016 their chances of watching top-level wrestling will be dramatically reduced. Will cooler, more educated heads prevail? We can only hope.
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