IOC BodySlams Wresting: Drops it From 2020 Olympics

The IOC has ended a 116-year-old Olympic tradition:  Wrestling… an original sport to the modern Olympics since 1896 in Athens, Greece!

rulon-gardner.83324This is nothing but a monetary decision in an “amateur” competition. Wrestling is not a sexy sport. It doesn’t do well on television. NBC only cuts to it for cut-ins or fillers. Wrestling doesn’t sell ad space. In today’s money driven Olympics, it was time to part ways with the sport.

This announcement set twitter afire with wrestling supporters. Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White tweeted, “IOC come on seriously wrestling is a sport that almost every country does and you drop it I’m pissed #saveolympicwrestling”. #Olympics, #Wrestling , and #SaveOlympicWrestling have been trending since the news leaked.

American Rulon Gardner, who shocked three-time Russian Olympic champion Alexander Karelin at the Sydney Games in the gold-medal bout widely known as the “Miracle on the Mat,” told the AP,”It’s the IOC trying to change the Olympics to make it more mainstream and more viewer-friendly instead of sticking to what they founded the Olympics on.”

Russian Olympic Greco-Roman champion Khasan Baroev said the decision was “mind boggling” He want on to say, “I just can’t believe it. And what sport will then be added to the Olympic program? What sport is worthy of replacing ours? Wrestling is popular in many countries — just see how the medals were distributed at the last Olympics.”

And what about how many tickets were distributed?  Out of 116,854 available for the London Olympics, 113,651 were sold. That leaves only 3,203 unsold tickets. Soccer and Basketball both had higher percentages of unsold tickets. If this is a money issue, which it seems to be, it isn’t a ticket sales issue.

The IOC said television ratings were “low.”  They ranked 5 out of 10. Obviously the television rankings are going to be low; NBC gave more coverage to Equestrian sports than wrestling. The story lines weren’t built up. Swimming is a “sexy” sport but NBC puts hours of coverage into just back stories, as do they for gymnastics and track and field.

This is a sad day for wrestling and wrestlers everywhere in the world. The Olympic dream was taken from them. Taken from them so the IOC and media could make a few more dollars. Wrestling wasn’t just at the first modern Olympics, it was a huge part of the original Olympics. Yet the IOC is okay with beach volleyball, badminton, equestrian sports, and rhythmic gymnastics(the silk on a stick floor exercise) and trampoline. Hopefully the social network movement can change the IOC’s mind before 2020, or some huge star emerges in the 2016 Olympics in Rio to save wrestling. By Steve Kish

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