Wrestling given 2020 Olympics reprieve

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    Sep 08, 2013 9:26 PM GMT
    Wrestling wriggles out of Olympic headlock and gets back into Games

    • Wrestling gains International Olympic Committee reprieve
    • IOC votes to reinstate wrestling over baseball/softball


    It could well become a pub quiz question in years to come. Which Olympic contest pitted the actor Billy Baldwin against Fidel Castro's son and ended with a sport that has 3,000 years of Olympic history being dropped only to be reinstated months later?

    As wrestling was on Sunday celebrating a reprieve by the International Olympic Committee of a decision to drop it from the programme for the 2020 Games in Tokyo, questions were being asked over the tortuous decision-making process that got them there.

    IOC members voted to save wrestling over a joint bid from baseball and softball for re-admittance to the programme and a spirited pitch from squash. The vote, in which wrestling triumphed with 49 votes to softball/baseball's 24 and squash's 22, was the culmination of a 2½-year saga that was supposed to elect a new sport to the Olympics but ended up preserving the status quo.

    In February 2011, the IOC unveiled a list of seven sports that wanted to follow in the footsteps of golf and rugby sevens, which had been added to the programme for the 2016 Olympics.

    Two years later, wrestling was cast from the programme in a shock vote by the IOC executive board but the 104-strong IOC chose to reinstate it after a seven-month drive by the new federation president, Nenad Lalovic, to modernise the arcane rules and make it more attractive to casual fans. "Wrestling is not a new sport but the wrestling we are presenting now is a new wrestling. What we tried to do is update our sport to make it more spectacular, more watchable and understandable," a triumphant Lalovic said.

    The original list of sports – squash, karate, roller sports, the Chinese martial art wushu, wakeboarding, softball/baseball, climbing – was whittled down to a shortlist of three in St Petersburg this year.

    At times, it appeared that the only ones benefitting from the seemingly never-ending process were the armies of lobbyists employed to campaign on behalf of the sports.

    Of those three, only squash would have been genuinely new to the Games. Wrestling had been ever present at all the modern Games but one and baseball/softball survived for five editions before being axed. "The biggest value of this campaign was to modernise our sport and our federation. This crisis gave us the strength to change," said Lalovic. "This is the most valuable experience for this journey."

    Baldwin had earlier joined Lalovic and athletes in the wrestling delegation while Antonio Castro, son of the former Cuba leader Fidel, was part of the pitch to add softball/baseball to the Games.

    Despite a compelling presentation that emphasised how the sport had been transformed as a spectator experience and underlining its global nature, squash failed for the third time in a row and trailed in last with 22 votes. World Squash Federation president N Ramachandran said the decision was "heartbreaking".

    Yet even now the exhausting process may not be over. The new IOC president, due to be elected on Tuesday to replace Jacques Rogge after 12 years, is likely to take a fresh look at the whole sport programme, which could lead to a new opportunity for squash or baseball/softball.

    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/sep/08/olympic-wrestling-ioc-2020-games
  • madsexy

    Posts: 4843

    Sep 08, 2013 11:29 PM GMT
    WrEsTlInG . . . mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! icon_twisted.gif
  • Montague

    Posts: 5205

    Sep 08, 2013 11:32 PM GMT
    Well most of the guys who will be in it aren't even out of HS yet...so makes you all look like pervs right now drooling over them in a way. ;)
  • Whipmagic

    Posts: 1481

    Sep 08, 2013 11:59 PM GMT
    Wrestling is simply a great sport that deserves to be in the Olympics. No drooling over future athletes needed to come to this conclusion.
  • TannerMasseur

    Posts: 7893

    Sep 09, 2013 3:03 AM GMT
    Yet curling is an Olympic sport?! icon_rolleyes.gif .....
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 09, 2013 10:51 AM GMT
    Wrestling should be the only sport at the Olympics. icon_wink.gif
  • tnlifter

    Posts: 76

    Sep 09, 2013 11:08 AM GMT
    I'm glad to hear this. Wrestling should be in the Olympics. It was there in ancient times, and is one of the few sports that can bring together the US, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, especially uniting them in a call to bring it back. Wrestling is a great sport, requiring the ultimate in endurance and strength. It's a great sport.
  • chi_rock

    Posts: 207

    Sep 09, 2013 6:06 PM GMT
    The IOC finally got some sense!
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    Sep 09, 2013 6:41 PM GMT
    spgem saidYet curling is an Olympic sport?! icon_rolleyes.gif .....

    Curling is in the Winter Games, so it's not really relevant to what is or isn't included in 2020.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 10, 2013 1:49 AM GMT
    WRESTLING IS FOREVER!
  • TannerMasseur

    Posts: 7893

    Sep 10, 2013 1:53 AM GMT
    nsaguysc said
    spgem saidYet curling is an Olympic sport?! icon_rolleyes.gif .....

    Curling is in the Winter Games, so it's not really relevant to what is or isn't included in 2020.


    Winter, summer---point is, it's still an Olympic sport while wrestling was ready to be nixed.
  • SkyMiles

    Posts: 963

    Sep 10, 2013 2:13 AM GMT
    PRO Wrestling should be added as well! icon_biggrin.gif