Wrestling dropped from 2020 Olympic Games

1:45 AM, Feb 14, 2013   |    comments
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Courtesy: Valery Hache_Getty Images

LOWELL, MI (WZZM) -- Call it the ultimate body slam.

The sport of wrestling was delieverd a blow by the International Olympic Committee in their decision to drop it from the 2020 Summer Games. The IOC faced the requirement to eliminate one sport.

The IOC reviewed all 26 summer sports before deciding to drop wrestling, and based their decision on factors including ticket sales, TV ratings, and global participation.

Many in the wrestling world believe they miscaluated big time, including Lowell High School wrestling parent Karen Jack.

"They've been training for years and years and years to get there and now their dream is shot," she said, of students training to get to the Games.

Jack's son is an accomplished junior in the Lowell wrestling program, and she said he will likely wrestle in college some day. The next step up from there for the sport's elite is supposed to be the Olympic Games.

"It might have been one of his goals in his heart, and now what does he wrestle for?" she said.

"There's probably a lot of kids in there that have some aspiration or dream to be on an Olympic team," said Dave Dean, the head wrestling coach at Lowell.

Dean lived that dream, as an alternate on the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team in Atlanta.

The two-time Big Ten Champion for Minnesota also served as an assistant coach at Michigan State University.

He says he was surprised at the sudden decision.

"Looking at it from 100 miles up, I don't think they're bargaining for what's going to happen," he said. "There's an ancient tradition, it's in over 200 nations. I think they've picked a fight."

In a statement, the IOS spokesman wrote, "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."

"I think this goes back to money and sponsors," said Dean. "Maybe what this comes down to is reinvention of leadership."

He says if the issue doesn't get worked out, the wrestling world will have to lay the smackdown; He says wrestling isn't leaving the world's biggest stage.

"I mean, it's Russia's national sport. It's Japan's. It's Iran's. It's a big deal in the United States," he said.

"'Do they want two Olympics?' is what the IOC will have to start thinking about," he said.

Wrestling could still be saved, as the IOC can add one more sport for 2020, but experts don't believe that will happen since it has been voted out.

The modern pentathlon was one sport that edged out wrestling.

A final decision is expected in September.














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