Olympics without wrestling?
Let the controversy begin.
In something of a surprise vote, the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday dropped wrestling from the list of sports to be held at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Other sports reportedly under final consideration to be eliminated were modern pentathlon, taekwondo and field hockey.
Wrestling has been part of the Olympics since 1896, and is considered one of the event’s 25 core sports. Wrestling featured 344 athletes in 11 medal events in freestyle and seven events in Greco-Roman in 2012’s Games.
Olympic officials will add one more sport to the 2020 lineup, so wrestling will now be considered for reinstatement with baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. Two other sports golf and rugby have already been added for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Just so we’re clear on this: Golf will be an Olympic sport in 2020, but wrestling, which has been part of the event since the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896, will not.
Olympic officials said they considered a wide variety of factors in making their decision, including ticket sales, anti-doping policies, global participation, popularity and television ratings. Ah, there it is. We’re guessing more viewers worldwide would rather watch Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson play golf or scantily clad women play beach volleyball than watch a couple of unknown wrestlers grapple. But we’re disappointed that wrestling’s Olympic history and level of participation wasn’t enough to save it when considered against the almighty television ratings. Wrestling is a personal battle between two participants, and we’d still rather watch Olympic wrestling than Olympic golf, simply because of its simplicity.
We just hope wrestling returns before squash, sport climbing or wakeboarding become Olympic sports.