H eadlines in the sports world have been flooding the Internet with news that wrestling, an Olympic Games sport since at least 1896 (and probably before that), will no longer be an Olympic sport starting with the 2020 Summer Games.
And with that, one of the key instrumental sports that restarted the Olympic Games is now gone, and the change will include everything from Greco-Roman grappling to women’s wrestling.
Fans are upset, to say the least. Wrestlers are outraged Й to say the least. As well they should be.
What compelled the Olympic committee to kick out the sport that’s been around for more than 100 years should be beside the point, because wrestling is and will always be a great athletic event.
The point of the Olympics is to have the best athletes from all sorts of sports and from all places in the world compete for a gold, silver, or bronze medal. Sports have been taken in by the International Olympic Committee that has normal people shaking their heads (golf, really?), while other sports have been taken off the list due to many circumstances (bowling comes to mind here, though I, as a bowler myself, can see why). The Games giveth and the games taketh away.
But wrestling? The sport that literally goes back millennia and was a focal point to the re-introduction to the Olympics in 1896? That, my friends, is a joke.
There are some things that are absolute in sports as we see it and know it today. One is that baseball involves a human element, and the game itself, even with all the new technology, will never be perfect. Another fact is 10 yards in football gets you a first down, a goal in soccer or hockey from anywhere on the playing surface still yields a team one point, and it takes 12 consecutive strikes in one game of bowling to score a 300.
A sure-fire truth, up until now, could also be said that wrestling was always a Summer Olympics sport. Well, at least until 2016. After that, it’s good-bye wrestling, and in a wrestler’s reality, it should also mean no more Olympics as we know it today.
Now I’m sure there are detractors out there that will say “wrestling has lost its popularity” or that wrestling “is no longer as relevant as it used to be.” I disagree. Names like Rulon Gardner, Cael Sanderson and Dan Gable made the sport of wrestling popular thanks to their timely Olympic victories. It even opened the doors for women to compete, leaving people to believe the sport’s popularity wasn’t going anywhere but up.
Then the world hears the IOC is dumping wrestling from the Olympics faster than Taylor Swift dumps a boyfriend. It just isn’t fair.
So with the high school wrestling championships all wrapped up, the next thing graduating seniors get to look forward to is one last chance to compete in the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, assuming they’ll give wrestling a shot beyond high school to begin with.
The world will lose a great thing when the 2016 Olympic Games conclude, and it will be equivalent to the Olympic spirit itself. For without wrestling, it won’t be the same Olympic Games again.