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Wrestling’s impact on possible 2020 Hosts

Feb 13, 2013, 1:46 PM EDT

Matt Kryger-USA TODAY Sports Matt Kryger-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve seen a more than passionate response from American wrestling fans after Tuesday’s recommendation by the IOC to eliminate the sport from the 2020 Olympics program. But the outrage has stretched worldwide, and it just so happens that wrestling is a major sport for two of the three countries bidding to host the 2020 Olympics, likely the first Games without the sport since 1900.

Here’s a quick look at the nations:

Possible host city: Istanbul
Population: Roughly 73 million
Wrestling medals: 58, including 28 gold
Sport’s success ranking: First, national sport
Athletes in London: 13, tied for third most
Notable response:  “It is plain wrong to drop wrestling, which is one of the main branches in Olympics. Combat sports have similar struggles. Sports with more glamour are preferred nowadays. But I believe the decision must be reviewed.” – Turkish Wrestling Federation Chairman Hamza Yerlikaya

Possible host city: Tokyo
Population: Roughly 127 million
Wrestling medals: 62, including 28 gold
Sport’s success ranking: Third, behind only judo and gymnastics
Athletes in London: 13, tied for third most
Notable response: “The final verdict has not been made… Everything will depend on our efforts and actions from now. We have been in the Olympics from the start, so there was always the feeling of reassurance that it was a key sport.” – Japan Wrestling Federation President Tomiaki Fukuda

And while wrestling isn’t a major sport in Spain, which hopes to host the Games in Madrid, Maider Unda won the country its first Olympic wrestling medal last summer in London.

  1. davidly - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:13 AM

    The Olympics were never, in theory, supposed to be a commercial venture. Even in practice–and in spite of whatever ultra-short revenue the games bring to the hosting nation–they have proven to be a disaster for the longer-term infrastructure and economy of each and every city they’ve grazed.

    The inclusion of professional athletes and the marketing of the Olympiad is a artificially enhanced microcosmic view into the sorry state of human affairs, rather than the spirit it was intended to embrace. Removing wrestling is a perfect metaphor for this folly. A perfect way to one-up it would be to replace it with the professional variety. And, while we’re at it, why not just replace the whole shebang with caged-fighting contests and call it the War Games?

  2. ironman721 - Feb 15, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    Maybe they could bring in pro wrestling. I’m sure Hulk Hogan can boost their ratings and profit since the rest of the world doesn’t care about real Olympic sports. Maybe they can find another sport that the U.S. doesn’t dominate in and add it. Lets keep table tennis and hand ball because everybody plays that crap. No wrestling, baseball, or softball. Get rid of NBA players and the U.S. will tune out for sure. That’s a market they can’t afford to lose.

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