Wrestling Dealt A Devastating Blow
Wrestling hasn’t been pinned yet, but with dwindling participants and a takedown from the International Olympic Committee, the sport is counting the ceiling lights.
Last week, the IOC’s 15-member committee dropped wrestling from the program of the 2020 Olympics.
“This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “In the view of the executive board, this was the best program 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.”
Modern pentathlon and table tennis made the cut, but there was no love for the ancient sport of wrestling, which finds itself vying for one opening on the 2020 program with seven other sports. Wrestling has fallen from a sport rich with Olympic history to one mentioned in the same breath as baseball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. It’s in an unenviable position, to say the least.
If wrestling doesn’t beat out those seven sports, its livelihood in the United States will likely take another hit.
We’ve seen it locally; there aren’t enough wrestlers to fill high school teams. Cattaraugus-Little Valley and Pine Valley have combined programs, and Westfield, Chautauqua Lake and Ripley all share one squad.
Due to dwindling numbers, Panama and Southwestern might form a combined team. Across the region, forfeits plague otherwise exciting contests.
Without an Olympic presence after 2016, it’s hard to imagine wrestling making a comeback locally or elsewhere. It’s a shame, but the sport is in serious trouble.