It’s history can be traced back to cave drawings thousands of years ago and it has been part of each Summer Games since 1896, but wrestling is no longer an Olympic sport. In a top secret vote somewhere behind closed doors and many bottles of wine in Lausanne, Switzerland the backbone of many memorable Olympics is now no better than roller skating.
Homer detailed in the Illiad about brave warriors who stripped to their birthday suits and grappled until one man died. The brutality of what the ancient Greeks engaged in was turned into a less do or die event by the Romans thousands of years later. By the mid-twentieth century, the Cold War between the USSR and the USA played out on mats in each Olympics for many decades. One of the best moments of the London Games this past summer occurred between American wrestler Jordan Burroughs and Iranian strongman Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi. Burroughs won a classic match and then the two men hugged on the medal stand. Wrestling did something diplomacy couldn’t seem to do.
Wrestlers will compete in Rip De Janeiro in 2016 then hope their supporters can petition the IOC in 2017 to get its status returned. It’s highly unlikely it will make the 2020 games because IOC members rarely admit they’re wrong. What’s even more shocking with this move is what stays in the Olympics 35 “core” sports – modern pentathlon. Wanting to “streamline” the games (translation – use sports that will make money and get ratings), IOC officials kept a sport that didn’t exist 100 years ago - a goofy combo of shooting, horseback riding, fencing, running and swimming created by a French guy in 1912. Also staying are tae kwon do, which only seems to medal athletes from South Korea, China and the USA, and cycling, which is so filthy because of it’s doping issues, you have to wash your hands after watching, and suspected as being the main reason lance Armstrong admitted to drug use so he could ride in 2016 or 2020.
Wrestling featured 344 athletes over eleven medal events in freestyle and seven in Greco-Roman at last year’s London Olympics. Women’s wrestling was added to the Olympics at the 2004 Athens Games. It will now joins a combined bid from baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. in applying for a single opening in 2020.
The vote was completed over several rounds and the final totals were not released to the public. Several Frenchmen including a descendant of the man who created modern pentathlon were involved. For those who think a lot of the sport, maybe the voters should see Jordan Burroughs, in a cage, with a metal chair.