Wrestling saved from Olympic extinction
September 8, 2013
The Sports Business Daily (subscription required) reports that Greco Roman Wrestling will return to the 2020 Olympics. The vote Sunday brought relief to a combat sports community that rallied around the effort to save the sport from virtual extinction.
Wrestling received a first round majority of International Olympic Community (IOC) votes (49) beating out baseball/softball (24) and squash (22). Despite winning the IOC by a fair margin, the sport’s representatives were grilled with questions ranging from corruption to gender equality. Concerns about wrestling’s governance and the perception that its rules were difficult to understand were reasons why the sport was initially dismissed from the Olympics earlier this year.
When news that it would be dropped from the Olympics came down earlier this year, many MMA fighters with wrestling backgrounds rallied behind efforts to save it. For its part, organizers proposed changes to the sport including adding two women’s weight classes.
The effort to save wrestling from being dropped from the Olympics shows how individuals with a common cause can affect change. Yes that is altruistic to think but the social media effort to save the sport and the many fighters that rallied for support showed how much the sport meant to each. Moreover, amateur youth programs have a better chance of surviving allowing the next generation of wrestlers the opportunity to dream of the chance to compete in the Olympics…or Octagon.