By Kimberly Gill
Wrestling is one of the sports that has been voted for elimination from the 2020 Olympic Games, with the hopes of replacing it with either squash, roller sports or wakeboarding.
According to ESPN.com, “The board voted after reviewing a report by the IOC program commission that analyzed 39 criteria, including TV ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity. Wrestling will now join seven other sports in applying for 2020, but it is extremely unlikely that it would be voted back in so soon after being removed by the executive board.”
According to ESPN.com, “Wrestling ranked ‘low’ in several of the technical criteria, including popularity with the public at the London Games, just below 5 on a scale of 10. Wrestling sold 113,851 tickets in London out of 116,854 available.”
Volunteer coach for the CSUB wrestling team, Brian Cobb, said, “It seems silly to get rid of one of the oldest sports in Olympic history, especially one that helps to build character.”
According to Olympic.org, “The first ancient Olympic Games can be traced back to 776 B.C., and wrestling was highly valued as a form of military exercise without weapons. It ended only when one of the contestants admitted defeat.”
Anthony Box, the wrestling coach at Bakersfield High School, said, “I think as far as what the Olympics represent and embody, wrestling is a major part of that. It is ridiculous that anyone would consider taking it out of the Games.”
“Kids who play basketball or football have the NFL or NBA to hope for and look forward to. For wrestlers it’s all about the Olympics,” Cobb said.
“It will hurt new kids who want to follow in Jake Varner’s footsteps, Varner is an Olympic gold medalist and also our hometown hero and many of our younger wrestlers look up to him,” said Box.
Many young wrestlers dream about making it to the Olympics. Kyle Salacido is one such individual. “When I was a kid and wrestled, I dreamed about one day making it to the Olympics, it is unfair to take that hope and desire away from today’s wrestlers. Every athlete needs to have something to strive for and to work your butt off to achieve. Wrestling deserves to be a part of the Olympic games like it always has been,” said Salicido, who wrestled for Foothill High school.
The decision to remove wrestling as an Olympic event is not final. According to ESPN.com, “The IOC executive board will meet in May in St. Petersburg, Russia, to decide which sport or sports to propose for 2020 inclusion. The final vote will be made at the IOC session, or general assembly, in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina.”
“I do not think that vote will pass in September,” said Cobb.