In what could be the largest upset of 2013 outside of the octagon, the International Olympic Committee has officially voted to remove both freestyle and Greco-roman wrestling from the 2020 Olympic games and will be adding Golf as an official Olympic sport. You heard that correctly, they’re taking the very first sport that the original Greek Olympics were based off of and replacing it with a game between two men hitting a ball with a stick into a hole 18 times. How exciting.
According to the New York Times, 344 athletes competing in 11 medal events from the London Games will be affected.
The IOC then issued a press release containing their motives and reasons regarding the decision which is as follows:
"In an effort to ensure the Olympic Games remain relevant to sports fans of all generations, the Olympic Programme Commission systematically reviews every sport following each edition of the Games,"
This doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll never see wrestling in the Olympics again, however it is highly unlikely that it won’t be re-introduced anytime soon given its recent removal.
Apparently the IOC evaluate sports on 39 criteria, which includes television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy, global participation and popularity. Given the decision that’s been made it can easily be assumed that the sport of wrestling feel short in it results during the evaluation. IOC spokesman Mark Adams spoke with the associated press and had the following to say regarding the decision:
"This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics. In the view of the executive board, this was the best program for the Olympic Games in 2020. It's not a case of what's wrong with wrestling, it is what's right with the 25 core sports."
Given how successful the U.S. has been in the sport, this will be a huge blow to American wrestlers all over the country. Wrestling has been in the Olympic games since it was re-introduced in 1896.
It’s difficult to say what kind of repercussions this may have on the athletes or the sport in its entirety. But with Wrestling’s prominence and popularity in America, it may very well be likely that we see many of its athlete’s potentially turning to a career in Mixed Martial Arts as a means of survival, financial stability and ultimately their plan B.
Let us know what you think of the decision in the comments below.