The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

February 13, 2013

Rueda column: Wrestling fights Olympic ouster

The members of the amateur wrestling community were in mourning on Tuesday and they had pretty good reason.

That was the day the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee recommended the elimination of wrestling from future Olympic Games beginning in 2020. Wrestling as a sport dates back thousands of years and was included in the first modern Olympics in 1896.

Although everyone knew wrestling was one of the sports being considered for elimination, the overwhelming majority were surprised the IOC board recommended the ax for a sport with such rich international tradition.

“My first reaction was shock,” longtime Minnesota State coach Jim Makovsky said Tuesday afternoon. “And then I started thinking how this was going to impact the kids. I have to believe there’s a lot of politics and lot of money involved in this decision.”

The recommendation was the result of a secret ballot of IOC board members in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Committee is ostensibly trying to pare the Olympics down to 25 “core sports” and apparently wrestling — both freestyle and Greco-Roman, both men’s and women’s — was the initial casualty.

Among the criteria the IOC members examined in making this decision were television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policies, world-wide popularity and participation. While wrestling may not be on par with basketball or hockey in most of those categories, it certainly fares better than some of the other Olympic sports that were spared, such as field hockey and modern pentathlon.

 “It’s a punch in the gut because we’ve done a lot of work here (in the U.S.) to keep wrestling viable,” Makovsky said.

Since 1999, 40 intercollegiate wrestling programs have been dropped but 95 have been added for a net gain of 40. In addition, more than 8,200 women now wrestle at the high school level and there are 21 intercollegiate women’s wrestling programs.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
Outdoors

Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Live Moondogs coverage
Shane Frederick's Twitter updates
Chad Courrier's Sports Report
Latest NCAA basketball news
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
Morosi: Tigers pick up Price from Rays Rice intends to become advocate of domestic violence with wife Janay when time is right Ray Rice issues apology for his part in a domestic violence incident A's Acquire Lester, Gomes For Cespedes Price on dealing with trade rumors Arian Foster Answers Questions With Same Boring Answer - @TheBuzzeronFox Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Cardinals make Peterson highest paid CB Tiger Woods: 1 on 1 Stephen A. Smith -- I Accept ESPN Suspension ... 'It Was My Mistake' Oakland Raiders To Become San Antonio Raiders? - @TheBuzzeronFox Byron Scott: 'This is still a Lakers town' Jack White throws first pitch for hometown Tigers LeSean McCoy explains how Chip Kelly has helped his productivity Chicago Cubs win longest game in team history Will Browns have enough without Gordon? Anderson Silva To Return To UFC, Face Nick Diaz - @TheBuzzeronFox Bills Legend on Bon Jovi's Bid: "F-ck Bon Jovi" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Settlement sets new standards for NCAA Possible MLB trades before deadline