I have a friend who lived in Iowa for a while, the nation’s hotbed of collegiate wrestling and where Dan Gable is a god (a major god, not one of those minor deities). And so my friend became a bit of a wrestling fan. No, not the WWE stuff, the real wrestling. The kind of wrestling that evokes Midwest passion almost as much as Ohio State football and Indiana basketball.
And its safe to say my friend was disappointed today to hear that the International Olympic Committee has decided to drop wrestling from the Summer Games starting in 2020. It’s a weird decision, given that wrestling dates back not just to the first modern Olympics in 1896, but also to the ancient Greek games.
So wrestling now joins other sports like baseball, softball, karate and others in trying to get back in the game through petitions and pleas and begging and maybe greasing a few palms, something the IOC has a bad habit of engaging in. One of the sports applying to get in for 202 is something called wushu, some kind of Chinese martial arts. Hmmmm.
Meanwhile for the 2016 games, golf and rugby will be added to the Summer Games in Brazil. Now, a lot of people are excited about golf joining the Olympics, and I image there is equal excitement in the rugby world about 2016.
But with wrestling going out and rugby coming in, it brings up some interesting questions about what sports belong in the games. Consider that sports like beach volleyball have been added in recent years. It wasn’t that long ago that tennis became a summer Olympics sport. But no wrestling? Interesting.
Wrestling could worm its way back into the Games in 202, but it’s a long shot. But based on what happened today, you have to think golf and rugby are a little more nervous about just how long they will be Olympic sports.