We all have a hobby to keep us busy whether it is reading, art, music, dancing, or practicing a sport. Once we have found our hobby, sometimes we perfect it and try to take it to another level. It is usually the case with sports. People get into them because they are fun and eventually fall in love with their sport and become more dedicated and decide to take it to a competitive level. What if you fell in love with a sport and that you have been extremely dedicated to it, spent many hours training to realize your biggest dream, which is to participate at the Olympics and suddenly, your sport is voted off the Olympics? It would probably be the most frustrating and disappointing news ever after spending so much time to make it to that level of competition. That is the case with wrestling. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made the choice to remove this sport from the Olympic program by 2020 while other less demanding sports are still kept.
In fact, wrestling is all about combat, strategy, has had a lot of history and is physically demanding, which makes non-sense to hear it being removed from the Olympic Games. After reading the article by Chris Chase in the USA Today called “Five Olympic sports that should have gone before wrestling”, and being an Olympic athlete, this article has really made me reflect about how wrestlers must feel about this decision and how frustrating and disappointing it must be. Knowing how much dedication, effort, and time it takes to become a high level athlete aspiring to compete in the Olympic Games someday and how long the process is, I would have been devastated if my sport, which is women’s artistic gymnastics, was ever removed from the Olympics. Chris Chase says in his article that wrestling has been removed because the IOC committee has voted it off from the 25 core sports that it thinks should be in the 2020 Olympic program and it is not even in the waiting list. The official website of the IOC has states the 25 core sports that it recommends to be part of the 2020 Olympic Games and which other sports are waiting on the shortlist hoping to be added to the 2020 program. Among the 25 core sports that will appear at the 2020 Games are athletics, rowing, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, gymnastics, weightlifting, handball, hockey, judo, aquatics, modern pentathlon, taekwondo, tennis, table tennis, shooting, archery, triathlon, sailing and volleyball. The shortlist is consisted of baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu, all of them competing to get a spot in the Olympic program. To me, it makes no sense that wrestling is not even in the shortlist while other sports like ping pong, equestrian, archery, shooting and sailing are in the 25 core sports. How is shooting more of a core sport than wrestling? How is it even physically more demanding? How is equestrian, the sport of horse riding, in the list while wrestling is not? It seems to me that equestrian athletes do not need to do anything physically demanding on a daily basis and that it is more left to the horse to do the actual sport. I still do not understand how wrestling has been rooted out of the 2020 Olympics and I do believe that the IOC should revise its decision.
Another thing that Chris Chase mentions in his article is that wrestling is hard to follow and is based on a scoring system that is complicated for viewers to understand. I do not think that should be a matter because every sport has a different scoring system that viewers may not understand. For example take gymnastics, a lot of people love watching it but still won’t understand how a certain athlete got so much deduction off his or her routine while it looked beautiful and amazing to them. This will always be the case with judged sports and only will the athletes, coaches, judges and great fans understand the scoring system. Hopefully this was not another reason for the IOC to reject wrestling from the Olympics. The IOC also says on its online news page that, “In an effort to ensure the Olympic Games remain relevant to sports fans of all generations, the Olympic Program Commission systematically reviews every sport following each edition of the Games”. I do not think that the Olympic Games, which are held every four years, should depend on what the viewers want to watch and try to appeal to them since they are just watching and not doing all the hard work athletes do to make their dreams come true. For most sports, the Olympic Games are the biggest and most prestigious sporting event athletes could ever attend and they should have the right to have their sport part of the Olympic program and be able to compete in the Olympic Games.
Chris Chase also says that this decision will mainly affect wrestling lovers and athletes and that the viewers might not even notice the fact that it has been removed when they watch the 2020 Olympic Games on their TV. It’s always hard to keep track of every sport during the Olympics as there are many sports to watch, there is always some time difference, most people do not watch television for 24 hours in a row and also because each channel will do its best to cover the greatest moments during the Olympics but they won’t be able to cover every single event. Chase also says that you probably will watch wrestling at the next Olympics but will forget about it until the next time you hear about the sport. I disagree with that as I remember watching the 2012 London Games and clearly remember watching the women’s wrestling and still remember that a Canadian woman won a silver medal. I do not think that is a reason to remove wrestling from the Olympics. If people seem to not watch wrestling all that much during the Games, a thing they could do is to not televise wrestling or televise it on demand only. That way, the athletes and wrestling community can still dream of competing at the Olympics and the viewers who really care about wrestling may still watch it on demand television.
Finally, wrestling has been present in the first modern Olympic Games back in the ancient Greek time and has had a lot of history since its first combats appeared. It used to be the most important and decisive sport of the Pentathlon and used to be the most important training young men would receive in Greece back in the time (International Federation Of Associated Wrestling Styles). It has also been in the Greek mythology and praised by the Gods. I am pretty sure that wrestling is one of the very few sports who has had so much history behind it and has appeared thousands of years ago. I do not think it should ever be taken off the Olympic program, as it has become a tradition. With all these reasons mentioned, I strongly believe that wrestling is a core sport and that it should always be part of the Olympics. I hope that all the petitions and pleas that are circulating help get wrestling back on the Olympic program.
International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles: http://www.fila-official.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14&Itemid=100246&lang=en