What do Mad Dog Vachon, Riki Choshu, Danny Hodge, Hiro Hase, Kurt Angle, and Jumbo Tsuruta all have in common? They all wrestled for their country at the Olympic Games.
With the recommendation that came down today that wrestling — both Greco-Roman and freestyle — be dropped as of the 2020 Olympic Games, their legacy is in jeopardy.
Officially, the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board said on Tuesday that wrestling should be dropped. The decision is not final.
Wrestling has been around since the first of the modern Olympic Games, in 1896, and, of course, has been around since man first stood upright. Women’s wrestling was added in 2004.
There were 344 athletes in total competing in wrestling at the 2012 London Olympics, in both disciplines and both genders.
“This is not the end of the process, this is purely a recommendation,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said after the vote by the executive board. “It is the session which is sovereign.”
The IOC executive board will meet in St Petersburg in May to determine which of these will be put to the vote in September when the IOC meets in Buenos Aires.
“It was a decision to look at the core sports, what works best for the Olympic games. This was the best program for the 2020 Olympics. This is not about what’s wrong with wrestling but what is good for the Games,” Adams said.
|WHAT YOU THINK|
Should the Olympics drop amateur wrestling?
Yes – 7%
No – 92%
Not sure – 1%
The last sports dropped from the Olympics were baseball and softball in 2005, but neither of those sports has the history of amateur wrestling, which is truly an international sport.
Other sports that were considered for axing included modern pentathlon, field hockey and taekwondo.
Television ratings and tickets sales apparently were a part of the decision.
“I am very surprised by the result,” board member and president of the International ice hockey federation Rene Fasel told Reuters. “Personally I do not know why but that is what the majority wanted.”
The 2016 Games will add rugby and golf.
— with files from Reuters