Our View: We don’t get it — wrestling nixed from 2020 Games
Posted: February 19, 2013
That former Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld decided to weigh in on the matter in Friday’s Washington Post suggests that the International Olympic Committee’s inexplicable decision to exclude wrestling from the 2020 Games has evolved from a simple sports story to one of more sweeping magnitude.
Or maybe not. As Mr. Rumsfeld hastened to tell his readers, he was not only a wrestler but apparently a good enough one to merit an Olympic trial. Whatever the case may be, the man has credibility on the issue. But here’s the rub: Even if he were not a former practitioner of the sport, we’d agree with him. The IOC’s decision to nix wrestling, whose Olympic roots date back to the Original Games, in 776 B.C., is a genuine head-scratcher, especially when you consider that rhythmic gymnastics somehow survived the cut.
We just don’t get it. As Mr. Rumsfeld intimated, wrestling is the ultimate Olympic sport, pitting one exemplar against another in a test of stamina, skill, and strategy.
It’s also one of the most democratic of Olympic sports, and one not reliant on technological superiority or cutting-edge mechanics. The sport is totally reliant on human attributes — and not just physical strength, but also drive, will, and stick-to-it-ive-ness.
This democratic spirit is borne out by the diversity of medalists. Such disparate countries as Iran and Hungary, and South Korea and Sweden have been represented on the podium. Given the right blend of physical and mental attributes, a youngster from Mongolia has just as much chance of emerging a star as someone from Muskogee.
It’s sadly ironic, but on The Star’s sports front Monday, we saluted the achievements of Handley heavyweight Jordan Dowrey, who finished the season unbeaten, at 52-0, en route to a state title. What a shame that, by 2020, the Jordans of the world will no longer be able to pursue excellence on the world’s biggest stage. Their only hope is that wrestling’s readmission as an Olympic sport will come quickly.