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Pitchforks Down: Wrestling Gets Reinstated for 2020 Olympic Games

(We did it, Daniel. | Photo via Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

So, that was a close one. After temporarily dropping wrestling as an Olympic sport, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has reconsidered and voted to keep the ancient grappling art in the lineup of events, at least for the 2020 and 2024 games.

Last February, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to drop wrestling beginning with the 2020 Olympics, and people went nuts. But thanks in part to a massive online effort to save it, wrestling was given a second consideration, along with sports vying to become Olympic sports for the first time, and was voted back into the games on a secret ballot in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Saturday.

“Wrestling had been dropped from the 2020 Olympic programme in February after the IOC assessed the performance of all 26 sports at London 2012,” the BBC reports.

“The sport — one of the original disciplines at the Ancient Olympics — had been due to end its Olympic participation at Rio 2016 following its dismissal by the IOC earlier this year…Wrestling — which was the favourite — received a majority of 49 votes, while a combined baseball/softball bid got 24 votes and squash 22.

“Wrestling’s triumph in the vote follows a number of sweeping reforms made following its exclusion, including overhauling its rules, administration, gender equality and operations.”

The International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) has vowed to make changes to amateur wrestling that they believe will stylize the grappling sport and make it more marketable. According to a report at MMA Junkie, beginning at the 2015 world wrestling championships in Las Vegas, FILA will begin to unveil these upgrades at their tournaments.

Basically, they want to package wrestling like MMA and boxing. Possible changes include staged weigh-ins, walk out music, change of mat color, improved lighting and visual effects for telecasts, video screen replays and the allowance of punches and chokes. The last part we just made up but the rest is true.

Will adjustments in wardrobe and match presentation change wrestling’s marketability? Who knows, but at least the sport that the Olympic Games is essentially based on is back in the Olympics.

Put away those torches, Nation…for now.

- Elias Cepeda

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