Many might have been hearing that wrestling is no longer going to be one of the main Olympic sports. Well, that is correct. That doesn’t mean it won’t be featured though. It is contending with, what are referred to as, fringe sports for the last Olympic slot.
This decision by the IOC (International Olympic Committee), as awful as it may seem for wrestling fans, can’t be held entirely to blame. With wrestling’s rules being just short of mystifying, “Wrestling has become a sport purely for experts.” says Nenad Lalovic, FILA’s interim president, which is the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles.
“The rules have to be clearer and the sport more attractive and spectacular. I would like a spectator to come into an arena and know all the rules by the time he or she goes out.”says Lalovic. If Wrestling wants to stay in the Olympics Lalovic states, “Our first priority is to change the rules but it cannot happen overnight.”.
Whether these rule changes come into effect in time for review in September and be drastic enough to make the sport more benefitting for casual observers, television audiences and athletes alike will be a determining factor in the future of the sport as it pertains to it’s “place” in the Olympic Games. Wrestling now has to compete against baseball, softball, squash (really?), wake boarding, sport climbing, roller-sports and martial arts like karate and wushu for the last open spot in the 2020 Olympic lineup.
Wrestling dates back to the first Olympic Games, back in ancient Greece, and in the first modern Olympics, in Athens in 1896. It’s hard to think a sport which was once a staple for competition in these games is so close to being ousted. Well don’t worry just yet, it does have some strong forces backing it’s stay in the Games. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said the country will do everything it can to help wrestling stay in the Olympics. Easy to spot that supporter since they have dominated in that sport for most of the last 2 decades.
Even so, unlikely alliances are forming for wrestling in the form of the United States and Iran, despite the political discord between the two countries.
So the future of wrestling in the Olympics hasn’t been completely decided yet and there is still seome hope. The city for the 2020 Olympic games also has not been selected yet but some of the contenders are Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid. With the election of the host city debuting on September 7th this year at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During that time Wrestling will also have it’s last chance to appeal formally before the IOC makes its final decision for the venerable sport. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that reason and tradition prevail.