Wrestling Too Hot and Sweaty for IOC
In a secret ballot, the International Olympic Committee’s 15-member executive board has voted to eliminate both Freestyle and Graeco-Roman wrestling contests, starting with the 2020 Summer Games.
Apart from track and field, wrestling is considered by many the oldest competitive sport, one that made its first appearance at the ancient Olympic Games in 708 B.C. and thrives on its rudimentary attractiveness — one athlete trying to subdue another, not with equipment but with the fundamental use of the arms, upper body and legs.
Yet it was precisely the traditional nature of wrestling that appeared to doom it. A shift in priority has occurred in an era of outsize television contracts as Olympic officials seek to add more telegenic sports and more widely visible stars in hopes of maintaining a sense of relevance, modernity and youthfulness in the Winter and the Summer Games.
Young wrestlers will be advised to take up rhythmic gymnastics, which is less sweaty and much more popular with advertisers. In years to come, boxing will be replaced by pillow fighting and the pentathlon will be replaced by the penthousathon – in which naked women shoot, fence, swim, show jump, and run.