International Olympic Committee drops wrestling

by Amanda Malool
Since the advent of the modern Olympics in 1896, several sports have been dropped from the games. From the unusual, like tug-of-war, to the more recognizable, like baseball, no sport is safe. According to, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reportedly views “TV ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity” before deciding to keep or drop a sport.
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On Feb. 12, the IOC voted to remove wrestling from the Summer Olympics starting in 2020, a decision that international wrestling officials can appeal.
“I’m happy that wrestling is appealing but not happy that it was dropped from the Olympics,” said freshman wrestler Jashmar Philippe.
In “How Wrestling Lost the Olympics,” an op-ed published in The New York Times on Feb. 16, John Irving wrote, “Many in the wrestling community blame FILA [International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles], the sport’s international federation…FILA probably presumed that wrestling’s status as an ancient Olympic sport would protect it.”
Many countries will be affected by the removal of wrestling. reports, “If wrestling does go, some countries, especially former Soviet republics where wrestling is big, will be hit disproportionally hard…Six of Georgia’s seven medals in London came in wrestling; Azerbaijani wrestlers contributed seven medals to the country’s tally of 10, including all four of the golds and silvers. Iran would have been deprived of six out of its 12 medals, and three of the four golds.”
It’s not just American wrestlers that will be affected by this, it’s the entire world. The International Olympic Committee needs to recognize the importance of wrestling to all countries.
Irving continued, “Michael Novogratz…a former Princeton wrestler…said that FILA ‘just did not do a great job of selling the merits of the sport.’”
This is the problem. Not enough wrestlers and fans are speaking up for the sport. A few wrestlers are voicing their opinion on the removal of wrestling but most have kept quiet.
Wrestling has a possibility of being reinstated in the Summer Olympics but is vying against several other sports, like wakeboarding, squash and karate, for the last remaining spot.
Baseball and softball have also recently been dropped from the Olympics. The two have joined to create a federation under which they both operate, appealing to the Olympic Council together. Baseball and softball are also competing against wrestling for the final spot in the 2020 Olympics.
Critics of the International Olympic Committee believe it won’t let baseball back in because Congress had publicly called out Major League Baseball’s players and officials for their relaxed drug policies. After that, the MLB refused to pause the season to allow players a chance to play in the Olympics.
Other countries don’t care if the MLB won’t let professionals play in the Olympic games. There are other baseball players from all over the world that would compete in the Olympics. If the IOC were to reinstate baseball, it would be more successful without American players.
The next vote for wrestling will take place in May, in St. Petersburg, Russia, with the final vote following in September.