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IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics

Feb 12, 2013, 8:11 AM EDT

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Most assumed it was a foregone conclusion that Modern Pentathlon would be dropped from the Summer Games schedule in 2020 to make way for a new sport. But in a surprise decision, the IOC has instead removed wrestling, which has been contested at all but one Olympics since 1896.

“This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “In the view of the executive board, this was the best program for the Olympic Games in 2020. It’s not a case of what’s wrong with wrestling, it is what’s right with the 25 core sports.”

IOC members reviewed 39 criteria including worldwide audience, TV ratings, anti-doping policy, and ticket sales for all 26 sports from the London Olympics, and then voted multiple times by secret ballot to whittle the list down to a final group that included wrestling, modern pentathlon, taekwondo, and field hockey.

However, the decision isn’t quite final. Wrestling, which includes both Greco-Roman and freestyle disciplines, will now be thrown in against the other seven sports vying for a single spot in the 2020 Games schedule: baseball/softball,  squash, wushu, roller sports, karate, sport climbing, and wakeboarding. A final vote will happen among the full IOC leadership at a meeting in Buenos Aires this September.

  1. discoroux - Mar 9, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    Pardon me for sounding cynical, but I think it’s a conspiracy to keep baseball off the Olympic program. Rogge and the European dominated IOC hate baseball because it’s a sport that Europe sucks at (except the Netherlands, but that’s because they import most of their talent from their Caribbean territories.) By cutting something as essential as wrestling and creating so much outrage throughout the sporting world, they’ll have no choice but to vote wrestling back into the Olympics this fall when there is room for only one more sport. The International Baseball Federation has been working hard for years to campaign to clinch that one spot, and it’s not fair for baseball or wrestling that now only one of them can be reinstated. As much as I have been wanting to see baseball put back in the Olympics since it was cut, I have to say wrestling deserves it more.

    Modern Pentathlon and/or handball should have gotten the boot (I’ve never seen either sport broadcast on TV.) Sailing and shooting would also be acceptable to cut. Also, given the headache and controversy badminton and boxing produced in London, I think it would be fair for one of them to sit out on the next Olympics, but since they’re legit sports they can be added again later.

    • steve3211 - Jul 17, 2013 at 11:58 PM

      who cares about baseball in the olympics. if you are so concerned about it get behing the baseball world cup.

  2. thestatsishere - May 23, 2013 at 7:18 PM


  3. trajan2448 - Mar 9, 2014 at 12:20 AM

    This is insane! Wrestling dates back to the FIRST OLYMPICS and is an incredible sport and a platform for many MMA champions. Wu SHU seriously. That is ridiculous. That is not even a martial art.

  4. kando53 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    Not only is that decision absurd, but this articles’ lack of comment on the fact that wrestling had just been voted back in, after previously having been dropped recently, is pretty lame, but typical of modern day online news reporting.

    Wrestling gets dropped, but we actually have the following as official summer olympic sports: beach-volleyball, canoe-slalom, canoe-sprint, cycling-bmx, cycling-mountain-bike, gymnastics-rhythmic, and possibly worst of all synchronized-swimming.

    Just another reason why I won’t be tuning in much again.

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