Wrestling Makes Shortlist for 2020 Olympic Games

June 5, 2013 7:50 pm

Professional wrestling is a step closer to becoming a part of the Olympics again, following the announcement by the IOC that the sport is shortlisted for the 2020 games.

The IOC (International Olympic Committee) Executive Board announced on Wednesday that wrestling, along with baseball/softball and squash, have been selected for the short list of candidate spots for the final provisional sport spot in the 2020 and 2024 games.

In September, all the sports will be put to a vote by the IOC General Assembly, and the sport that is most voted will be included in both forthcoming games.

Professional wrestling faced competition from karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu.

The decision was followed by a presentation from FILA, the international wrestling federation, to the IOC Executive Board, arguing against the decision to cut wrestling from the games.

It was announced earlier this year that wrestling was to be cut from the 2020 games following its final participation in the 2016 games. The decision caused uproar, not just in the wrestling industry, but worldwide. Many criticised the decision, saying that wrestling was the final traditional sport in the games that also had the longest heritage, going all the way back to 1896.

kurtangleKurt Angle, former WWE and current TNA Wrestling star, who won an Olympic gold medal in the 1996 games, also expressed his outrage about the decision to cut the sport.

Speaking to The Sun, back in February, he said: “It’s the world’s oldest sport and has too much tradition. It’s like dropping track and field. I pledged my heart and soul to the sport. I won a gold medal when I had everything stacked against me, including my neck being broken”.

“I’m so angry I’ve been shaking all day. I can’t believe what they are thinking. I know if wrestling is dropped its entire history is in jeopardy. Even I’m in jeopardy of not being remembered.”

Angle also pledge to help wrestling get back into the Olympics, saying: “I’ll fight for it. They can’t just keep adding new sports and taking away the old ones. I’ll continue to wrestle for TNA. The plan is on wrestling three more years then coach amateur wrestlers and fight my butt of to get wrestling back in the Olympics.”

Shortly after, Kurt launched his “Save Wrestling 2020” campaign and has since campaigned tirelessly for the decision, and come September, he may get the result he’s looking for.

In a press release, USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender said: “This is good news for wrestling, but obviously this is going to be a process.

“The first part of the process is complete, and we’re on to the next and most important part of the process. There is a lot of work ahead, but we’re up to the challenge. The entire wrestling world needs to continue to push forward. We need to continue to work diligently and makes upgrades and changes to the sport to ensure we are successful in Buenos Aires.”

USA Wrestling President Jim Ravannack also commented, saying: “USA Wrestling is pleased with the decision of the International Olympic Committee Executive Board to select wrestling as one of the three sports on the short list for consideration for a position in the 2020 Olympic Games program”.

“This outcome was made possible by the hard work and dedication of the worldwide wrestling community. USA Wrestling has taken a leadership role in supporting FILA in its efforts to improve our sport and retain its Olympic status”.

220px-2016_Summer_Olympics_logo.svg“I want to thank all Americans who have stepped up in the last few months for wrestling, especially those who are involved in USA Wrestling’s grassroots programs, working daily on behalf of our nation’s young people”.

“There is much more work to be done, and we look forward to the challenges ahead. We believe in our leadership team and in the passion of the wrestling community as it pursues the goal of remaining an Olympic sport.”

Bill Shcerr, Chairman of the Committee for Olympic Wrestling, said: “We are jubilant yet humbled by the IOC decision as we realize that it is a recognition of our hard work in reforming the governance of the sport and changing the rules and presentation of wrestling. Yet we realise this is only a start and that now we must re-double our efforts if we are to succeed in remaining on the Olympic program”.

“As Chair of CPOW, I call upon all wrestlers and fans to join me in leading wrestling forward into the future. We must continue to improve FILA and their staff capabilities and governance structure. The new rules of the sport must be adopted and refined. Gender equity should be a rallying cry of our movement. Digital and social media must move ahead”.

“The sport needs to expand its horizons and appeal to those outside our normal base. But most of all, we must all unite together behind this cause of wrestling. We open our arms to all interested in helping the greatest and ancient sport of wrestling”.

“We will honor the legacy of those ancient warriors who came before us by preserving wrestlings Olympic position for generations to come.”

%d bloggers like this: