All governing bodies make questionable decisons. In return, all governing bodies usually get their share of ridicule for forwarding those decisions. But the one made earlier this week by the International Olympic Committee takes the cake-- along with the cake dish, cutting knife, and butter cream icing.
The International Olympic Committee has placed Olympic wrestling on a list of endangered sports to possibly be dropped after the 2020 Olympic Games. Wrestling joins other sports on the endangered list-- but WHY? I haven't attended many high school meets around here, and you have to go to Minnesota or Iowa before you find anything CLOSE to a manistream wrestling culture (and let me tell you, they LOVE the sport out there), but it is still a basic, fundamental, Olympic sport.
Remember Rulon Gardiner? The soft-spoken guy from Wyoming who beat the greatest of the Russian Bears-- Aleksandr Karelin-- in Greco-Roman wrestling. Karelin had been undefeated in heavyweight Greco-Roman rings for 13 years, and this unknown American takes him down-- in the Olympics, no less!
Here are a few facts the IOC should wrestle with to keep their paws off the sport...
1. Wrestling was one of the original Olympic sports-- not just in the modern Olympics, but in the Ancient Greek games as well. So, nearly 3,000 years of Olympic history is on its side.
2. It requires nothing more than base muscle, an ugly-looking singlet, and good coaching. For a great American example of all three, look up Tom Gable.
3. It is one of the few sports that has equal footing among worldwide competitors. Asian, North American, European, South American, African-- and maybe even an Austrailan or two-- can wrestle at the highest levels.
4. Although professional wrestling is a COMPLETELY different-- and staged-- breed of cat, some of the wrestling moves are real-- and if Olympic wrestling markets itself right, can tap into a built-in fan base from the WWE and related federations.
5. It is a great equalizer. No matter if you are rich or poor, if you are stronger and technically better than the other man, you can physically dominate your man and rise to the top.
There is my case for Wrestling as an Olympic sport. It is sad that I actually have to make a case for it....
That's my take-- I'm Tom Lee.