September 06, 2013
International Olympic Committee to decide fate of wrestling at the Games on Sept. 8 in Buenos Aires.
The announcement knocked the wind out of many wrestlers around the world.
In February, the International Olympic Committee, which organizes the Olympic Games, said wrestling would no longer be part of the international sporting event after 2016.
Three months later, though, the executive board of the IOC chose wrestling as one of three sports for possible inclusion in 2020. Wrestling will grapple with squash and baseball/softball when the IOC makes its final vote on Sept. 8 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Many thought the IOC’s initial decision was financially driven: with a small and declining viewership, wrestling has never had top television rankings. The IOC’s official stance was that wrestling didn’t provide enough opportunities for women, and that the rules—dictated by the International Federation of Associate Wrestling Styles, or FILA—were too hard for the viewing audience to follow. The real reason might have been entirely different.
After years of asking FILA to make its sport more exciting to viewers through rule changes, points reassignments and penalties for stalling the action, the IOC might have decided on a display of power.
Many wrestlers, current and former, have found their way to CrossFit, and some CrossFit coaches worry the exclusion of wrestling from the Olympics will cut opportunities for young athletes, killing scholarships and, eventually, the sport.
The Olympics are generally regarded as the pinnacle of competition, and the removal of the sport is in some minds a death knell for a discipline depicted in cave drawings dated as early as 7,000 B.C.