Joe Kaiser, Sports Editor
Recently, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) passed down a decision to exclude wrestling from the 2020 Olympics. The decision has caused much controversy, since some contend that it will hurt wrestling’s popularity as a high school and college sport.
I personally believe this decision to be an egregious error for two reasons. First of all, wrestling is a sport that teaches how to be disciplined and push oneself through pain – these are great life lessons for aspiring Olympic athletes. Secondly, wrestling is one of the original Olympic sports, and, in the modern Olympiad, has one of the highest numbers of countries participating.
Wrestling training is grueling. Making weight consists of sitting in saunas, not eating or drinking water, and plenty of cardio training. It teaches discipline to many high-school-age youth. According to the New York Times, wrestling has more than 270,000 participants in U.S. high schools alone. Excluding wrestling from the Olympics will hurt sport participation, since high school wrestlers will not be able to have Olympic aspirations.
Additionally, wrestling is one of the original Olympic sports. It is a simple sport. It does not require expensive aquatic centers or training regimes. As such, country participation in wrestling is very high compared to participation in other Olympic sports. While the U.S. Olympic team has access to costly pools and training centers, many countries simply do not have the funds to participate in sports which require such facilities – think Cool Runnings, but with regard to summer sports. Excluding wrestling makes medaling for a poor country like Azerbaijan much more difficult. It places the domination of the Olympic games into the hands of the more wealthy nations. This is not what the Olympic games are about, and the International Olympic Committee’s decision clearly demonstrates its short-sightedness.