Olympic gold winner for wrestling, Dan Gable, sums up his views on quite possibly one of the toughest and oldest sports in just one quote, “Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.” However, the IOC, International Olympic Committee, didn’t seem to agree with Gable when they removed wrestling from the Olympics starting in 2020. The news of wrestling’s removal has begun uproar of criticism from wrestlers, coaches and sports anchors.
Many current wrestlers in high school and college dream of competing for the United States in the Olympics because that’s the highest level you can reach. Unlike football, baseball, and numerous other sports, a professional league does not exist. The main accusation of why the IOC dropped wrestling from the Olympic Games is to make the event more viewer friendly. The committee reviewed the sports on the summer program and came to a decision based on criteria including TV-ratings, ticket sales, and popularity. The IOC will hold future meetings to review the decisions again; however it’s not likely that wrestling will be voted back on the list after being dropped so recently.
“It was an extremely difficult decision to take. The motivation of every member is never based on a single reason. There are always several reasons. It was a secret vote,” explained IOC Vice President Thomas Bach of Germany. “There will always be criticism, but I think the great majority will understand that we took a decision based on facts and for the modernization of the Olympic Games.”
If you’ve ever wrestled, lived with a wrestler, or have even just been friends with a wrestler you know the discipline and commitment it takes to excel in the sport. I’ve never had to “make weight” but I’ve seen my brother and cousins sit through Thanksgiving and Christmas without indulging like the rest of my family. If that doesn’t exhibit commitment than I’m not sure what does. Wrestling teaches a lot more than just the things wrestlers learn on the mat.
“Wrestling has taught me good work ethic. And that if you want to be good or successful at something you have to work towards it even though it’s not easy,” said Derek Goodwin, wrestler for 10 years and a member of Bloomsburg’s wrestling team.
Another issue being voiced by the wrestling community is some of the sports that were chosen to remain in the Olympics over wrestling. “They wanted to modernize the Olympics but some of the options like wake boarding and table tennis aren’t really sports; they’re hobbies,” says Goodwin in response to the removal of wrestling. “I think it’s crazy to believe they want to take away a sport that dates back to the early Romans and Greeks for things that are hobbies.” After reading endless news articles, letters to the IOC, and even Facebook statuses I think that Thomas Bach may be underestimating the negative reception of wrestling’s removal.