Outsider’s perspective (by Kevin Trudgeon): Get it together IOC

Posted: February 15, 2013

Nothing like a little outrage to help get over a heartbreaking loss, am I right?

It’s been 12 days since my San Francisco 49ers came up five yards short against the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl.

Twelve long, dark days of lamenting the play calling, the officiating and the fact that the lights didn’t go off in the Superdome a second time.

But at some point you have to turn the page and move on, if for no other reason than nobody wants to hear a grown man endlessly complaining and your lucky socks start to smell pretty bad around day five.

So although I still think Michael Crabtree was held on that fourth-down pass and I still don’t understand why Jim Harbaugh chose to throw the ball three straight times from inside the 10-yard line, I knew that I needed to find something else to focus on.

Thankfully, the International Olympic Committee was more than willing to help me out this week.

With the announcement Tuesday that the IOC’s executive board was looking to cut wrestling from the Olympics beginning in 2020, my distaste for Joe Flacco’s smiling mug was quickly replaced by that of IOC President Jacques Rogge’s.

Wrestling? Not in the Olympics?

As the always level-headed John McEnroe would say, “You cannot be serious!?!”

Granted, this isn’t the first time a sport has been put on the Olympic chopping block (nothing is official until all members of the IOC vote in September).

Baseball and softball were dropped just last year in London. football got shown the door in 1932 and even the great spectacle of tug-of-war didn’t make it past 1924.

But you’re going to drop wrestling? A sport which dates back to the ancient Olympics and has been featured since the inaugural modern games in 1896 has suddenly become expendable?

How does that make any sense?

The answer, of course, is money and politics.

From television ratings to tickets sales to who it is that actually sits on the executive committee — those are the reasons an idea as asinine as cutting wrestling from the Olympic Games could ever come up.

It’s why a sport like golf will be added for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

With international stars like Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and Lee Westwood, as well as a guy by the name of Tiger Woods, golf is the kind of name-brand sport that has the IOC seeing dollar signs.

Make no mistake, I love the sport of golf and have no problem with it being in the Olympics — accept when it comes at the expense of one of the true pillars of the Games.

Add whatever sports you want IOC, but don’t start cutting the great ones.

Wrestling is the perfect sport for the Olympics.

It’s simple — hand-to-hand combat in its most basic form with two people trying to pin each other on a mat.

It’s hard — ask any high school athlete which sport has the toughest practices and the most intense conditioning and wrestling is the answer more often than not.

It’s pure — where tennis players would rather win Wimbledon and basketball players would rather have an NBA Championship, the ultimate achievement for wrestlers is a gold medal.

And yet, somehow, it faces the very real possibility of being shown the door.

And if that happens, the 2020 Olympics will feature synchronized swimming, canoeing and, of all things, trampolining — but no wrestling.

That sounds about as foolish as attempting a fade on fourth down in the Super Bowl.

— Kevin Trudgeon is the sports editor at The Winchester Star