Yesterday, the International Olympic Committee dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games, causing an uproar in the wrestling community.
Olympic wrestling is one of the oldest sports played in the games altogether, dating back to the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896.
Because of the decision, wrestling has been removed from the Olympic’s 26 core sports, opening up a spot for a potential new sport. It was one of three options to be removed, including field hockey and modern pentathlon.
The final vote will be made at the IOC general assembly in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“Today’s decision is not final,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams in a statement. “The session is sovereign and the session will make the final decision.”
According to Adams, this preliminary decision is part of a revamping of the Games.
“This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics,” Adams said. “In the view of the executive board, this was the best program for the Olympic Games in 2020. It’s not a case of what’s wrong with wrestling, it is what’s right with the 25 core sports.”
The sports that will be competing for the extra spot are baseball and softball combined, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding, wushu and wrestling.
The IOC reported that they analyzed more than three-dozen criteria including television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy, global participation and popularity.
The IOC executive board will meet in May in St. Petersburg, Russia to decide which sport to include in the 2020 games.
“We knew that today would be a tough day for American athletes competing in whatever sport was identified by the IOC Executive Board,” said United States Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun in a statement. “Given the history and tradition of wrestling, and its popularity and universality, we were surprised when the decision was announced.”
At home on the Hill, three-time national champion and senior co-captain Kyle Dake was less than pleased.
“It’s unreal, I never though it would happen,” Dake said. “It is one of the biggest events in the world and something every [wrestler] wants to go to as they are growing up.”
Dake and his teammates have been working to spread the word about this new development, urging followers of the sport to sign a petition encouraging the IOC to reconsider the decision.
“Today I’ve been doing radio interviews, online petitions, talking with coaches and other wrestlers from different schools about how terrible it is,” Dake said. “It is the same as taking away the NBA or the NHL and telling athletes the best you can do is win in college. That is insane, because not everyone hits their peak at similar times.”
Considering that the IOC declared that the decision was not a final one, Dake said he believes progress can be made if the wrestling community comes together.
“I am confident that it will be reinstated, but it is going to take a ton of hard work throughout the nation and the world,” he said.