It's a sport that often gets overlooked. One that finds it's popularity at the high school and college level in the United States, and when the summer Olympics make their round every four years, we pay attention to the sport of wrestling.
For those of you who are used to the scripted theater of over-juiced grown men in Speedo's hitting each other with chairs, we are talking about "real" wrestling. The kind of wrestling that has been around since the ancient days of the Olympics in Greece, an event that you would think gained immunity from being crossed off the list of sports at the summer games when the modern games were first held in Athens in 1896.
Well, apparently the International Olympic Committee, which has taken heat in the past, mainly in the area of corruption, decided that the ancient sport could be cut from the 2020 summer games.
When the announcement was made on Tuesday, even the people who have never attended a live match in their lives were shocked to hear that wrestling didn't make the cut. The reason it has received such support is because wrestling is a respected sport worldwide.
A respect that other events like track and field get. Events that Socrates himself probably attended and might have had money on. What makes it even worse, there are several events that we watch, especially this past summer with the London games and think "Why is this a sport?" "Why am I watching this?" that made the cut. The kind of events they push towards the end of the two weeks of competition.
Other sports like trampoline and rhythmic gymnastics, which is a nice way of saying you can't work a balance beam or rings but you can twirl a ribbon, will be there for us in seven years. Hopefully China's Dong Dong is still competing in trampoline years from now. I kid you not, that's his real name.
So, wrestling will have to make its case for inclusion along with baseball and softball, which were axed from the 2012 summer Olympics, and other events such as karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. What is wushu?
Of all the events the I.O.C. could keep off the docket, keeping wrestling on the outside looking in is a slap to the face of the ancient event. We've all wrestled once or twice in our lives. Whether it was with a sibling, a fraternity brother (I'm in this category), or if you competed in high school and/or college, we've all attempted to wrestle.
Some will say a lack of interest and commercialism might have lead to the ousting of wrestling. It may not be mainstream like basketball or football in the United States, but it is respected. That's why the reaction from young wrestlers, casual fans, and the once in a while observer was taken back by the I.O.C's decision.
Enjoy trampoline, and if we have wushu in 2020, the Olympic Committee will lose its last ounce of respect.
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