(Jordan Burroughs defeats Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi of Iran to become the 2012 Olympic champion at 74 kilos.)
In an utterly baffling move, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to drop the sport of wrestling, a.k.a the reason the Olympics even exist, as of the 2020 games. The Associated Press reports:
The IOC program commission report analyzed more than three dozen criteria, including television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity. With no official rankings or recommendations contained in the report, the final decision by the 15-member board was also subject to political, emotional and sentimental factors.
The IOC, however, did decide in its infinite wisdom to keep the modern pentathlon, a sport which combines pistol shooting, fencing, riding a horse and some other crap. Forgive my facetiousness, but I fail to see how a sport that managed to bring in athletes from just 26 different countries last year has somehow been deemed more important than one that brought in athletes from 71. And oh yeah, golf will be added as an Olympic sport in 2016.
So let’s get this straight – TV ratings, ticket sales and global participation are determining factors in what sports to keep, yet the so-called “modern” pentathlon is in. Where, you may ask, did the idea to create a sport where shooting, fencing, horse riding, swimming and running are put together come from? The AP has the simple answer.
In addition to being wildly popular the world over, these are
“the five skills required of a 19th century cavalry officer.”
We’re assuming that the “political, emotional and sentimental factors” alluded to by the AP report could not possibly include bribery in the form of cash, trips and favors from interest groups to IOC members because they’ve never been involved in that sort of thing. Oh wait, my mistake. The IOC takes bribes all the time.
We guess wrestling officials should have offered the IOC something a little more exclusive than an all expenses paid trip to Sandals Jamaica.
Wrestling will now join sports like wake boarding and squash in vying for a single spot in the 2020 Olympics. That’s like telling the founder, owner and CEO of a company to reapply for his or her own job. You know, if they had been at that job for a couple thousand years.
If this decision sticks, MMA will truly turn into the only place for high-level wrestlers to go after devoting their lives to learning it (well, other than this noise). One can only imagine the negative effects wrestling’s absence in the Olympic Games will have on the college programs that are already beleaguered and diminishing.
All that remains to be seen. What this writer does know is that he won’t be tuning in to watch any of the games during the summer of 2020 given this indefensible decision. I don’t care how cute the (of age) gymnasts are. That’s what GIFs are for, anyway.