Writing about wrestling is awkward.
As I was Twitter-hunting Monday night, I found news that I wasn't unfamiliar with. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was voting to put another Olympic sport out of it's misery after the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. After the ax of baseball and softball after the 2008 Beijing Games, wrestling became the next sport to get the boot from the Olympics after the voting reveal Tuesday morning.
While I thought its inclusion in the possible cuts was sad and all, someone brought up a good point to me after reports were singling out this sport yesterday: this was one of the originals. Yes, my people, this sport will be removed after 120 years of being a part of the Olympiad. Even though it was taken into consideration that it was, in fact, one of the classics, they also took into account several other areas of the sport. For example, they looked over the performance-enhancement scares that have been plaguing almost every sport, the overall popularity of the sport worldwide, and the big one: whether people actually cared to watch this sport. As the wrestling universe is in uproar, many modern pentathletes and field hockey players took a sigh of relief as they, too, were on the verge of being cut as well.
You almost have to wonder what modern sports is coming to. Okay, they had Olympic tug-of-war once upon a time, and it's great that they got rid of it. On the upside, they're introducing golf and rugby in the next Games. Well, technically, golf's making a comeback, so that's a nice thing to see. However, I look at some of the other events that people are still vying for to become an Olympic sport and I begin to lose faith in humanity. For example, there are still some people out there that are looking to get poker in as an Olympic sport. I read reports about that and I give the death stare to the people supporting it. In my view, a sport is something that requires physical activity. Archery does it, heck, even shooting does it. Something like wrestling requires a heck of a lot more brainpower and skill than poker does. I could be wrong about all of that, but watching something like The World Series of Poker puts me to sleep. No offense.
Seeing the cutting and adding of sports makes you question on whether the classics are really up to standard to today's society. Most viewers are satisfied with weightlifting when it comes to feats of strength. When it comes to craftsmanship or physical force, viewers will turn to judo or boxing or even fencing (where women scream their heads off when they score a point).
From what I have read, many IOC officials were rather sad to have to make the decision, but since it was a secret vote, they had no choice but to really comply with their results. I understand that. I would hate to lie about results like that myself.
It's painful to see any sport get cut in the Olympics. I was especially sad to not see softball (a sport I had played for many years) back at the 2012 London Games, but because it wasn't as appealing as, say, Women's soccer, it was forced to be cut along with its male counterpart. To see a perennial sport of strength and power get cut from the Olympics like this is like saying you're no longer going to have cake on your birthday. Wrestling is one of those things that you expect to see. More or less, I'm saying that it's a major staple that's being removed, and it's not really gonna seem like the Olympics without it.
I wouldn't consider the people of the IOC to be bad guys or anything, but they need to take priorities into consideration. What made them? They have to look at the powerhouse countries like Russia and the other European nations where wrestling is big and see what kind of effort and passion these guys are putting into the sport. It's as if they're giving them enough credit in efforts. If the IOC had a hard enough time promoting the wrestling program over the past ten years (c'mon, you introduced the women's division in 2004 in Athens), FILA [the head honchos outside of the Olympic realm] should have been fixed if it were broken.
All is not lost with wrestling, however. They, along with other sports that have either been cut or are looking to introduce themselves to the grand stage will be appealing to the IOC this upcoming May for a slot in the 2020 Olympics. These guys still have a chance, as do many others. However, there's only one spot, so each international sporting organization has to dig deep and find a way to come back.
See, even fighting for a spot in the Olympics is a sport of Olympic-sized proportions.
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