By Malik Powell
Foothill High School student, age 17
In a stunning and completely unforeseen decision, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has voted to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games. The committee used a secret ballot to determine what sport would be dropped to add Golf and Rugby back into the 25 ‘core sports’ of the summer games. This decision has caused widespread outrage and protest from wrestlers and wrestling-based organizations worldwide.
In order to add rugby and golf into the games, at least one event had to be dropped. Several events were considered, and the two deemed “most likely to go” were modern pentathlon and taekwondo. Taekwondo is a martial arts form similar to karate, while modern pentathlon was described as “a goofy mix of shooting, horseback riding, fencing, running and swimming.” Wrestling has been a part of the Olympics since 1896, when the modern Olympic Games began, and its origins trace back to the original ancient Greek Olympic Games, making it one of the first sports to ever exist. Pentathlon was added in 1912.
When asked why wrestling, a committee spokesman simply said, “In the view of the executive board, this was the best program [to cut] for the Olympic Games in 2020. It’s not a case of what’s wrong with wrestling; it is what’s right with the 25 core sports.”
As a sport with no professional league in America, the American wrestling communities have banded together in protest of this outrageous decision. We have led the way in donations and acts promoting the return of our sport. The tag #saveolympicwrestling has become a popular twitter and instagram trend. There are also multiple petitions online waiting to be signed.
Pentathlon has no pro-league either, but unlike wrestling, it’s only practiced in the Games themselves.
Winning an Olympic gold medal is the ultimate dream of high school and college wrestlers across the country. Cutting our sport from the Olympics is like stepping on the hopes and dreams of every wrestler in America and around the globe.
Fortunately, the IOC will meet in May to decide which of 7 sports (including wrestling, baseball, and softball) applying for reentry to the games will get in. The wrestling community needs all the help we can get to reverse this tragedy. Every signature, picture, tweet, or status helps.