It was recently announced that wrestling would no longer be an Olympic sport. The 2020 Summer Olympics will be the first games not to have the sport offered.
Members of the International Olympic Committee voted in a secret ballot to drop the sport from the competition in order to have room for more modern sports.
This vote came as a huge shock to the 344 wrestlers who competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
It also affected the many college, high school and amateur athletes who have trained most of their lives to compete in wrestling.
Now, I have never been a big fan of wrestling. I used to go to the matches in high school because I had friends on the team, but I never really understood the appeal. Watching sweaty men roll around on a mat in spandex does not sound like a good time to me. However, to each his own.
That being said, I understand why so many people are upset and hurt by the committee’s decision.
Wrestling was one of the original sports in the first Olympic games. Wrestling can be traced back to the first games in ancient Greece.
According to Greek mythology, Zeus and his sons even took part in wrestling. Which is why the sport was so integral to the Olympic tradition.
After it was announced the sport would no longer be offered, many wrestlers worried the removal of the sport would have negative effects on its future. Protests and outcries have poured in, but they seem to be falling on deaf ears.
The 2012 Olympic freestyle wrestling gold medalist, Sagid Murtazaliev of Russia, and 1996 gold medalist Valentin Yordanov of Bulgaria, have both decided to return their gold medals in protest.
Wrestling is a big part of the NCAA. There are championships and scholarships provided for athletes. Wrestlers train all their lives, just like basketball and football players. What will happen to these programs now?
There is not a professional association like the NBA, NFL or MLB for wrestlers to fall back on.
The Olympics is the highest level at which a wrestler can compete on, and now that the outlet is gone, where will these athletes compete? The WWE? Everyone knows that is fake.
I understand how the wrestling fans feel because I felt the same when it was voted that baseball would be cut from the Olympics after 2008.
The reasons given for the sport’s departure were trouble with the MLB and with doping problems.
The MLB is one of the most popular professional sporting associations, so the fact that baseball was voted to be removed was not a smart move.
How can baseball and wrestling be removed when table tennis and rhythmic gymnastics remain?
If the Olympic committee was trying to modernize the games, those should have been the first two sports to be cut.
I don’t think the Olympics needs to be modernized. Aren’t the Olympics about tradition? Wrestling is part of the Olympics tradition. To lose it would be a big mistake.
Column by Jaci Kohn, Sports Editor.