The International Olympic Committee shocked the sports world when it announced on Tuesday that it voted via secret ballot to drop wrestling from the schedule starting with the 2020 Games.
No one thought that wrestling would be given the boot as it has roots in the ancient Greece games. Everyone thought that the modern pentathlon, invented for bored cavalry officers, would be cut, because the modern pentathlon is really dumb. Instead the committee killed wrestling, a sport which has been a part of the modern Olympics since they began in 1896.
Here at the Cave, Scratch thinks this is a stupid decision. Why kill a sport that is so quintessential to the Olympics? The Olympics are meant to showcase the peak of elemental human physicality. Who can run the fastest, swim the fastest, be the strongest?
According to the AP:
“The board voted after reviewing a report by the IOC program commission report that analyzed 39 criteria, including television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity. With no official rankings or recommendations contained in the report, the final decision by the 15-member board was also subject to political, emotional and sentimental factors.”
The Committee is making the amount of sports in the Games a zero sum game. One goes in(golf) and one has to come out. By doing this you are forced to compare sports against each other. So let’s compare. Most people seem to agree that the modern pentathlon should have gone. That didn’t happen most likely because of Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. Samaranch is the son of the former IOC president and is a vice president and board member of the governing body of the modern pentathlon.
Dan Wetzel, however, makes the case that golf shouldn’t have been included if that means wrestling would be cut. He points out that for most sports, the Olympics are the ultimate contest. It is the meeting of the top international athletes in each sport, athletes who train with the Olympic gold as their dream. The author argues that golf already has those type of tournaments weekly. Wetzel says that the gold medal won’t measure up to a green jacket for golfers. I’m excited to see Olympic golf, but Wetzel does make an interesting point.
The IOC’s decision is going to be debated loudly for the next few weeks. Wrestling will have a chance to make its case and try to reenter the Games, but the IOC rarely reverses a decision. Wrestling is going to be forced to compete against sport climbing, wushu, baseball/softball, roller sports, karate, and wakeboarding for the final spot in the schedule(seriously wakeboarding?). And knowing how the IOC has run in the past, we’re willing to be that the “criteria” will take a back seat to “political, emotional, and sentimental factors”. And bribes, lots of bribes.