The I.O.C.(International Olympic Committee) announced yesterday that wrestling will be dropped as an Olympic sport in the 2020 Summer games. This seems ludicrous and tantamount to heresy. Wrestling, like boxing, is one of the earliest sporting contests. Wrestling is a fundamental combat sport and pits athletes of the highest caliber against one another in a contest of strength, agility, mental toughness and control . Unlike boxing, the goal is not to beat the opponent into submission, but rather to gain control and either out-score or pin the enemy. Wrestling was included in the original games in Ancient Greece- this fact alone should preclude such a move by the I.O.C.
The sentiments of Socrates about wrestling would seem to say it all. Wrestling is one of the most grueling contests of sport that requires intense stamina, and boundless will and drive. To banish this sport is absurd. And a banishment it is. There is no real professional wrestling...yeah I know there is that comical theater parading as a sport that has amused the howling unwashed for decades. But that is not wrestling. These amazing athletes have college wrestling...then the Olympics and that is it.
I wrestled as freshmen in high school( gave it up when Lacrosse took over my passion) and then in intramural matches at Lehigh. You may know that wrestling is a religion at Lehigh and the school has over the years been a powerhouse of champions in the sport. Friday night matches in Grace Hall..".the snake pit" were high decibel crowd scenes with students, professors, and townspeople alike screaming and spilling beer and hoping for a pin by the Engineer mat-men. When I was at Lehigh, Bobby Weaver, a future Olympic Gold medalist, was on the team. He was man small in stature but with the heart of a lion and the balls of Hercules. As students we were lucky enough to see him take on and beat the best in the country in his drive toward Olympic Gold.
From local wrestling aficionados, the newspapers report that they think the I.O.C. is following the cash. Wrestling is not viewed as a popular sport with the sponsors..but sports like golf...recently added ...are favored by the beer and boots guys who parse out the dough for T.V. 344 wrestlers competed in London in 2012 and the U.S.A has generally been a medal heavy team in wrestling...113 medals..the most of any nation. Apparently, the I.O.C is considering wakeboarding or competitive "sport" climbing for the next games. These to contests seem like poor substitutes...in fact, I do not even know what the Hell "sport" climbing is....