There is that great sense of joy that one experiences when they go hard for six minutes on the mat and grind out a victory, one-on-one. Wrestling instills core values of hard work, responsibility and sportsmanship in the very framework of the sport. It has been around since the first Olympic games in Athens in 1896. Why now does the committee find it not a "core sport," yet the modern day pentathalon is?
Prior to the IOC's decision to ban wrestling from the 2020 Olympic program, many had no idea what the modern day pentathalon was -- really modern, isn't it?
Wrestlers have no professional league to train for, and often have to opt to compete in mixed martial arts circuits. The Olympics is often the holy grail for wrestlers to reach, and many work hard and train each and every day to achieve their goal of being a medalist. Now a group of people tells them that their work is now void. Are they expected to take the news lightly? Not a chance.
While a high school wrestler for the Nashoba-Clinton cooperative program, we had a saying from Olympic wrestling legend Dan Gable all over the training room that read "Once you've wrestled, everything else in life is easy." With that kind of attitude, wrestlers are not going to back down quietly.
The IOC dished a cross face so hard that it broke the nose of the sport, but not its spirit. Although I only wrestled my freshman and sophomore seasons due to the death of my father, it was an experience I will never forget.
There is a thrill that you get when you pin your opponent and your hand is raised. Shaking hands with your opponent before and after teaches sportsmanship and respect. Wrestling put me in the best shape of my life, and taught me discipline.
The criteria used to determine wrestling's fate were television ratings, ticket-sales, anti-doping policy, global popularity and participation.
In past Olympiads, sports such as badminton have been included, so how does wrestling now get the shaft? Women's wrestling was added to the program in 2004, and now they want to drop the sport altogether?
Baseball and softball were the last sports to be cut from the Olympics, and wrestling is just the latest casualty. Many people like myself will give up watching the Olympics altogether.
Wrestling, while it is not a mainstream sport, is something that the vast majority understands. It is a sport that takes great skill that is often learned through various hours of sweat on the practice mat.
A revote will be cast in the following months, and expect many of the sport's brass to come equipped to the meetings with a petition to reconsider wrestling's exclusion.
Rulon Gardner defeated Russia's Aleksander Karelin in the heavyweight class of the 2000 Olympic tournament for the gold medal. Prior to his loss to Gardner, Karelin had not lost a single match in 13 years. Gone are those moments of ecstasy when the wrestler's hand is raised, gone are the emotional embraces with coaches after winning a tight match, and gone is the Olympics' integrity.
How can basement recreational activities like ping-pong be included in the program, but a sport that our ancestors long before this country was founded competed in. The thump of the mat, the grit, the determination is gone. Instead, the modern pentathlon, in which an athlete shoots clay targets and sprints, remains. The IOC needs to reconsider their decision for the high school and collegiate wrestlers who have had their hopes at being the next Cael Sanderson or Gardner dashed.
Wrestling is a sport that gives young men with nowhere else to turn an avenue to express themselves and become a man. While collegiate and high school wrestling are still around, what do the top tier athletes have to look forward to? The answer may be the Bay State games, other state tournaments, but why not the Olympics? Wrestling may not be considered mainstream, but it is a sport with world participation. My father, who was an immigrant from a small Middle Eastern country, participated in wrestling as a child.
It is an understandable argument that not everyone is familiar with the scoring system of the sport, but on the flip-side, what average person actually knows what comprises the modern-day pentathlon. The only other avenue for wrestlers looking to take their skills to the next level was the now-defunct circuit called "Real Pro Wrestling" which would air every Sunday, and allow top-tier wrestlers to grapple for a trophy at the end of the season.
The Associated Press is reporting that United States lawmakers are planning to take legal action in order to convince the Olympic committee to reconsider their vote. Wrestling is a sport that you can do for a lifetime, and many young-men take to the mat each day. My wrestling days were some of the best memories of my short-life, but why now does the Olympic committee find it necessary to pin down athletes' aspirations.
Wrestlers are athletes who compete for the love of the sport, not the extra zeros on their paychecks.
Wrestling is one of the purest sports still around. I would rather watch a wrestling match during the Olympics than some overgrown prima donna United States basketball player beat another country by 20.
Let the men and women grapple, like they have since the Roman era. How dare the committee interfere with a core sport. It's the third period, Olympic Committee, what's your move?