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.

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Source: Fox

52 thoughts on “IOC Drops Wrestling As Olympic Sport”

  1. My former mother-in-law was from Scotland. She was here long enough that by careful listening I could understand her, but after her brother came for a visit from Scotland I couldn’t understand much of anything she said. She and her brother and her children (all adults) would laugh uproariously at one joke after another. I laughed too but didn’t have a clue.

  2. Robin Williams is sooooo funny. Pick a subject. Thanks, pete, for brightening my day with that video. If only the Olympics could be so entertaining.

  3. People wonder why I don’t watch the olympics, despite more and more stories like this. Everyone is dirty, every single one of them, whether by drugs or money. And the IOC is not the slightest bit interested in catching drug cheats, only in appearing to try.

  4. Jude: I agree. And I also wonder why they can’t manage to get MMA in the Olympics, given that you could tie it in to the original Olympic sport of Pankration (not to mention its popularity).

  5. I find this particularly weird considering the vast interest in MMA, which is mostly submission fighting on the ground these days. Clearly there should be an audience for wrestling. Part of wrestling’s problem is that you never see it on TV to begin with. It can’t get good ratings if it’s not televised.

    And really, I’ve never understood why people watch golf. I mean… What is there to watch?

  6. In a follow-up announcement, the IOC has decided to drop the marathon in favor of pole dancing, a move thought to help ratings w/ 14-85 aged males. There is also a motion from IOC member, Walter Sobchak, to have bowling replace swimming. That has been taken under advisement.

  7. The IOC are whores who are in it for the money and their history is marked with bigotry. The Cities that hold them usually lose moey on the deal. While they market it as an historic event, the truth is it is becoming less ad less grounded in its original history. Olympic wrestling is sometimes called “Greco-Roma” because it is a sport that dates back thousands of years. I am not a fa of it, but feel that it belongs if the “Games” are to have legitimacy. I believe that the inclusion of any team sports in the games is absurd and their inclusion reflects greed more tha anything else. Also including teams creates jingoistic rooting, which purportedly is not what the games are about. As for golf this is a blatant attempt to increase revenue.ad nothing else. While I do believe that golf is a sport there are already plenty of venues where excellance is rewarded. I wrote this piece below last year decrying what the media has transformed the Olympics into symbolizing:

    http://jonathanturley.org/2012/08/11/how-you-play-the-game/#more-52935

    However, if you write Olympics into this blogs search function, you will find that JT has written many blogs delving into the Olympics illusion.

  8. I think it’s outrageous that a sport like wrestling is being removed and that sports that almost no one participates in, like Modern Pentathlon, remain. I also agree that money drives a lot of this, but there’s also a lot of good ole boy connections within the IOC and little transparency. I can only assume that wrestling did not have the right connections within the IOC.

    One nit to pick, however. Golf is joining the Olympics in 2016. Wrestling is getting kicked out in 2020. Wrestling is not being removed to make room for golf. Some other sport is going to be added for 2020 to take wrestling’s place.

  9. I agree with Bruce and I stopped watching when they let the pros play basketball. Next they will find something for the Kardasians. Innocuous Octagenarian Canavores. IOC.

  10. If the ioc made it mud wrestling it would top the charts. I’m an avid golfer and don’t need it made an olympic sport. Gave up on the olympics when they let the pros play basket ball.

  11. Wow. Not a personal fan of wrestling, but many of our rugby players do well in wrestling so I understand what they put into their training.

    I have not paid any real attention to the Olympics since they allowed professionals to compete, rather than keeping it a showcase for amatures. (that will change in 2016 since rugby will be back, although in 7’s format rather than 15’s -sigh)

    I agree with JT that it is ridiculous that something like wrestling would be removed from the Olympics before garbage like rhythmic gymnastics. Golf should not be in the Olympics.

  12. Bob Morris

    I’ve had that same sad vision of the Olympics of the future. I can hear the opening parade ceremony now: “Here comes Team USA, brought to you by Sprite, a division of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. (NYSE: KO)”.

  13. Ten years from now they’ll probably hold the Olympics in Vegas and allow the entertainers (because they won’t be athletes any more) to wear advertising regalia because the teams will be from companies not countries. “And now, Team Facebook faces Citibank in the grueling Speed Twittering competition.”

  14. Should the Olympic logo be changed – minus one ring? Wrestling is harder than most sports (including football) but with minimal injuries since the proximity is closer. Example: You don’t run from 30 feet away and crash into your opponent.

  15. Blouise, They do have indoor climbing with artificial rock structures. When my son moved to Colorado, he took up rock climbing. We still have the Times delivered. I will check it out.

  16. Probably not a chance of them bringing back the arena/coliseum for the lions and losers…..

    Do you think next we can have baton twirling and hula hoops…..

    At least we could have the beginnings of circus, circus…..

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