IOC Drops Wrestling As Olympic Sport

300px-Pankratiasten_in_fight_copy_of_greek_statue_3_century_bCThe International Olympic Committee shocked many today by announcing that it is dropping wrestling as an Olympic sport for the 2020 Games. Instead, they will add golf. That’s right, they are dropping one of the original Olympic sports that go back to the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896 and one of the few sports traced back to ancient Greece. However, we will keep synchronized swimming and Rhythmic Gymnastic routines with ribbons and hoops.

The IOC is known to most people for its long history of corruption and excess. However, it will occasionally take a break from self-dealing to undermine its institution. The sport of wrestling featured 344 athletes competing in 11 medal events in freestyle and seven in Greco-Roman at last year’s London Olympics. It also was one of the unbroken links to the origins of the Olympics and one of the most impressive physically demanding sports. It will now be replaced by golf? The decision seems overly cynical and opportunistic. There is more money in golf and viewers around the world. Yet, wrestling is a sport that is part of school programs around the world — programs which will be adversely affected by this decision.

The selection of golf shows the continuing control of money over the IOC members. Golf is supported by major companies willing to spend a lot in wooing IOC members. Notably, the IOC looks at television ratings and ticket sales to make its decision as well as global participation. However, this is not just another sport but one of the classic competition of the Olympics. Tradition should mean something to the IOC. It is bad enough that dance routines on the gymnastic floor and synchronized swimming is making the Olympic look increasingly like a Vegas act. Why not cut dubious competitions like shooting which require a fraction of the physical ability of wrestling? I am not a wrestling fan, but I do love history and believe that some traditions lend authenticity of an event like the Olympics.

The IOC has demonstrated with this decision that it is continuing to shed its sports orientation in favor of a business model. If the rating and sponsors were good enough, the IOC would make a chorus line an Olympic sport (which is already close to reality with Rhythmic Gymnastics). I have long been a critic of the IOC which seems to fulfill and surpass the worst expectations of many of us each and every year. However, this decision has set a new low for the IOC.


Source: Fox

52 thoughts on “IOC Drops Wrestling As Olympic Sport”

  1. mr.ed wrote: “How about killing off boxing? Wrestling, the original Olympic sport, should be kept, and it doesn’t leave its athletes brain damaged.”

    Actually, boxing was also an ancient Olympic sport. According to one source it was added to the Olympics in 688 B.C. But if the modern Olympics is going to severe one of its links to the ancient Olympics, I’d rather see boxing cut than wrestling.

  2. SwM,

    Does that mean they have to build a rock mountain?

    (BTW … interesting article in the NYTimes today regarding the slowdown in healthcare cost that has erased hundreds of billions of dollars in projected spending on Medicare and Medicaid. This slowdown has been occurring over the last several years and could indicate a boon to the economy. Time will tell but the doctors I hang with are taking credit and cite a change in healthcare policy resulting in fewer needless tests.)

  3. Lots of training and skill required for both wrestling and golf. I’m not an olympics fan but occasionally watch the gymnastics or the ice skating, just a few individuals, not the entire deal. I agree those who see the decision as a poor one, a chase after money. Are they having money problems or just greed?

  4. How about killing off boxing? Wrestling, the original Olympic sport, should be kept, and it doesn’t leave its athletes brain damaged.

  5. I have no interest in wrestling, Olympic or otherwise. On the other hand, I’m an avid golf and love the sport. However, I have issues with both IOC decisions. Where I’m happy golf will be included in the Olympics to further the expansion of the sport, as with Olympic basketball, it bothers me that Olympic golf will essentially be a PGA/European Tour event of highly paid professionals rather than college and other amateurs. And to do this at the expense of one of the original Olympic events makes both decisions seem tainted by the stench of pure greed over sport. I know some countries subsidize their “amatuer” Olympic athletes, but very few can actually compete with the professionals in any sport. An exception used to be Cuban baseball, but even they no longer dominate their sport and are now ranked simply as good amateurs not up to MLB level.

  6. Ridiculous decision, indeed. And I’m right with you on the ribbon dancing and water dancing too, JT! The Games are becoming a joke.

  7. Bob Morris,

    “Ground fighting is way more strenuous than regular martial arts and even boxing.”

    Mostly true unless you count MA like Tae Kwan Do or kickboxing where there is a huge concentration on outside leg work. A lot of high kicks will wear a body out, especially for the folks with larger legs. I used to train at a dojo where a lot of kickboxers did and a couple of them were body builders with huge legs. They were usually good for about 8-12 good above the waist kicks before they started tiring. The ones with skinnier legs generally had much more stamina.

  8. I’m not a huge Olympics fan, but wrestling was one of the events I would watch. Golf? Golf sucks. It’s people playing fetch without a dog. I have it on good authority that the game (and it is a game, not a sport) was invented by Scottish cats as a joke.

    Some jokes just go too far.

  9. Wrestling is indeed physically demanding. I once studied Krav Maga, a martial art. After 18 months they started a ground fighting (AKA wrestling) class. We were all in excellent shape. The instructor, an LAPD officer who trained other cops, started the first class by telling us pair off. One person gets on the floor on his back, with the other on top of him, then tries for 60 seconds to get him off. Then switch off. At the end of this, when we were all lying on the room wheezing, he made his point without saying a word. Ground fighting is way more strenuous than regular martial arts and even boxing.

    And the Olympics is going to replace this real sport, one with a tradition going back to the first Olympics, with golf?

  10. Wrestling is an extremely rigorous physically challenging sport.
    There are a myriad of techniques to learn. Speed awareness strength strategy coordination are necessary skills to rise to the highest level.
    Wrestling is a true olympic sport, as valid as track and field.

    Too bad it’s boring. Mr. Turley you are spot on.

    Market forces own the olympics now.

  11. Another point not mentioned: Wrestling was just becoming more open to women as an opportunity for participation.

  12. Sport climbing is big in Colorado and the western states, Blouise. It is a form of rock climbing.

  13. This is simply incredible. I am for including aerobatics being included since it really does require physical conditioning, and stamina, but since it is motorized, I can see the point in not including it. How golf got into this is beyond me since it places no physical demands upon the contestants. As one person defined it, golf is a good walk spoiled.

  14. Add that to the list of things not to watch — except it was already on the list. Tonight’s garbagepalooza starring Barry the Great is sometimes on the list; but the possibility of it turning into a satire creates an occasional attraction.

  15. Time to bring back another Greek tradition: Ostracise the IOC

    Giving up Greco-Roman wrestling for Golf, what a sham. What’s next the Javelin goes so that Poker can have air time.

  16. “Wrestling will now join seven other sports in applying for inclusion in 2020. The others are a combined bid from baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. They will be vying for a single opening in 2020.”

    What in the world is ‘sport climbing’?

  17. Golf?! Even the most ardent golfers I know won’t make the leap to calling it a bona-fide sport.

Comments are closed.