A Defeat for Olympic Wrestling?

If the ancient Greeks could see what happened to the once marveled Olympics, they would surly turn over in their graves.

In ancient Greece, participants went to Olympia to partake in the games which were closely linked to religious ceremonies. After the victors won, they were announced and received their medals. Some of the first sports played included the pentathlon, running/jumping, boxing, and the most popularized sport of the time, wrestling.

Wrestling was highly valued as a form of exercise by the military without the use of weapons. It gave the soldiers the chance to see who was stronger if they had no weapons. The victor was announced only when every other contestant admitted defeat.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), an organization started by Baron Pierre de Coubertin and Demetrios Vikelas in 1894, organizes the modern games that are held in the winter and in the summer.

The IOC decides which sports should and should not be allowed. Recently, the IOC decided to vote to drop wrestling in the 2020 Olympics, trailing away from what the Olympics were built on. The IOC made this decision based on a few key areas of criteria such as television ratings, ticket sales, global participation and popularity.

Many people were upset with this, especially among the wrestling community. Wrestling was one of the sports that the Olympics was founded on. Wrestling is a sport that is popular all around the world, and the Olympics is the highest honor for a wrestler to participate in it. A possibility to replace wrestling is rollerblading among many other “sports.”

Edric Zheng, a senior and former wrestler, said, “Just because it’s not as popular doesn’t mean it should be taken out. It deserves a place in the Olympics.”

Nick Djamalidinov, a senior on the wrestling team, said, “I think the decision to take wrestling out of the Olympics just shows that we value looking cool over actual sports. It’s all about the super exciting sports or those games people like to call sports. People need to wake up and realize that rollerblading, ping pong, and fast walking are not sports, they are games for fun. Taking wrestling out of the Olympics is destroying the meaning of the Olympics. Just because wrestling doesn’t bring in as much money as the popular ‘sports,’ doesn’t mean it deserves to be cut from the Olympics.”

Most wrestlers, whether it be professional or amateur, were really upset about the decision made for the Olympics. But what about the coaches, the teachers of wrestling? They were even more upset.

Todd Bloom, Tech’s wrestling coach decided to share a few words. “I view this as an absolute tragedy and I was shocked quite frankly,” he said. “Wrestling was the inaugural Olympic sport and its popularity spans worldwide. Both men and women can compete in it as well. The 2012 Olympics had over 100 countries represented [in wrestling] and 70 different countries brought home medals.”

So many different people and countries participate in it; it seems foolish to just think about dropping wrestling, but there’s still hope.

“As it turns out, the head FILA (wrestling’s governing body) did a poor job of protesting the elimination of wrestling from the Olympics which is why it was initially dropped,” adds Bloom. “Since then the outcry from the wrestling community around the world had been astonishing. The head of FILA has since stepped down and the organization of a committee of wrestling leaders spanning the globe to fight the decision has been assembled. The IOC plans to revisit this decision in September so hopefully it will be overturned.”

No one knows what will happen; only the future can tell. However, Bloom said, “If I’ve learned anything from my 25 years involved with wrestling it’s that wrestlers won’t go down without a fight.”

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