It goes without saying the loss of wrestling as an Olympic sport, although it is possible to still retain it via voting and campaigning, is a travesty of what the Olympic games stands for. IOC, some things aren’t all about your statistics. Statistics might, and I stress might, not lie. But if you’re going to use statistics to get rid of the originator, then I say we use statistics to solidify its place back on the podium.
1. How many people can actually do what it takes to be an Olympic level wrestler? I’m not taking anything away from any other sport, as I believe in the merit of each. And I fully realize the difficulty of getting to the Olympic level of any given sport. But let’s be honest here. Wrestling is a test of might and endurance, technique and tenacity, intellect and slyness. Few sports rival its overall commitment level and athletic demands. Furthermore, few sports rival its real world application towards self defense, body conditioning and mental strength. Where is this stat in the mix?
2. Is wrestling not one of the original, if not THE original Olympic sport? I keep reading about all this needing to “retain the original games heritage”. Ummm? Am I missing something here?
3. The new Olympic committee wants to look to the future of the games. Is MMA not one of the fastest growing sports in the world? What is MMA’s first and foremost base? Wrestling. MMA likely won’t be an Olympic sport any time soon. But even so, if you’re thinking of the future, you don’t get rid of what is the base for the future, as well as the past’s key stone.
4. How many other sports are as cheap as wrestling to fund?
5. How many people, in North America, at least, would watch wrestling if it was actually on…and I don’t mean at 3 in the morning on one of the affiliate channels.
6. You’re telling me people would rather watch walking over wrestling? Really? I mean, really? Let’s get some stats going on popular vote, if they haven’t already done so. And I mean really truthful stats, not stats via Mr. or Ms. politician who has never had the ability or desire to take on something as physically demanding as wrestling and, so, does power walking or badminton on the weekends. Wrestling should be respected for what it is, revered for its nature. It should be honored, not thrown away. Are the Olympics not about challenge of sport and good will?
The wrestling community is small, but of the highest caliber in terms of sportsmanship and appreciation towards one’s opponent. Even if not a very successful wrestler, there is always a certain camaraderie amongst those who have stepped on the mat, a certain respect. It is because not everyone can do it. In my experience, even the most decorated and influential wrestlers have the ability to put their competitive nature aside for the sake of good will towards their opponents. Is this not what the Olympics stand for?
Respect of difficulty and physical ability. Honor of athletic prowess and mental strength. Admiration of devotion and spirit. Love of competition and performance. Teaching and practice of sportsmanship and good will. Wrestling contains these attributes. Truly, to be a wrestler sets one apart from the rest of the world, but in the most positively influential of ways. The IOC seems to agree with the separation part of this statement, separating wrestling from its home of the Olympic games, and putting it in a false light.
Over the next 7 years, let us fight to reestablish wrestling and solidify its place one again as a base Olympic sport. Olympic spirit isn’t about money or even popularity, although it is a sad fact these factors are to blame for much of the world’s athletic prosperity, as well as wrestling’s current departure. But the Olympics are suppose to be different. They aren’t suppose to be a representation of business and this web generation’s non-present/non-accountable TRL-style voting. They are suppose to be about the essence of sport.
Olympic spirit is about the challenge and drive. Let us keep it this way. May this be only another stepping stone for one of the world’s most respectable, yet often most misunderstood and unappreciated, sports and martial arts.
PS: Barack Obama has nothing to do with wrestling getting cut people. Geez.