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Wrestling omitted from Olympics

Photo Courtesy of CSU Athletics

By Christina Sanders

February 28, 2013

On Tuesday morning, Feb. 12 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the decision to exclude wrestling from the 2020 Summer Games.

It came as a surprise to many because wrestling is considered to be one of the original competitive sports and one of the original Olympic sports.

Wrestling first appeared in the ancient Olympic games in 708 B.C. and has been a fixture there since.

It is one of the few amateur sports left and considered to be the pinnacle of success for high school and college wrestlers because wrestling does not have a professional league.

Many people are outraged and heartbroken about the committee’s decision to exclude the sport from the 2020 Summer Games. It sparked wide debate worldwide on every platform from Internet forums to cable news.

Former competitors and medal winners, experts and observers of the sport alike have come out of the woodwork to express their displeasure via radio appearances, blogs and quotes in newspaper articles.

“I was unhappy,” said Cleveland State University wrestling coach Ben Stehura of his feelings when he first heard the news. “I think that it will hurt the Olympics. and it goes against the Olympic spirit.”

Oddly, wrestling’s traditional feel and history was the exact thing that sunk i,ts ship. The IOC chose to expel it because they didn’t feel that the sport was “relevant.”

The 15-person committee voted by secret ballot in their headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland to eliminate the sport to make room for more “relevant” sports.

Stehura doesn’t feel that the removal from the sport from the Olympics will hurt the competition at the high school and college level, however, because he points out the fact that the freestyle and Greco-Roman style of wrestling is different from the high school and college style of wrestling.

Stehura is one of the many people hoping that the decision to expel the sport will garner enough media attention and will cause the committee to reverse their decision when they vote in May on the 26th sport to be added to the 2020 Summer Games.

“All of the press that wrestling is getting is helping,” Stehura said. “This could turn out to be a good thing for the sport as long as we can get the remaining slot in the 2020 games.”