Sep 6, 2013, 9:56 AM EST
The International Olympic Committee will make the second of three major votes at its session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Sunday.
Nearly 100 IOC members will choose one of three sports — baseball/softball, squash and wrestling — for inclusion in the 2020 and 2024 Olympics from 11-11:45 a.m. Eastern time. For more on what happens Sunday, click here.
OlympicTalk will look at each sport’s pitch. Here is a rundown of wrestling:
Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs gets one question more than any other from young, impressionable wrestlers.
Will wrestling be back in the Olympics?
The definitive answer is about to come down, seven months after wrestling was recommended to be dropped from the Games. Burroughs, 25, fought hard to capture gold in London, winning four matches in one day. He joined a different fight on Feb. 12, when he saw a BBC World News report of wrestling’s axing in a hotel near a German airport where he had a layover en route to Iran for a competition.
“I spent a bunch of time after the Olympic Games telling kids around the nation that if they dream, if they work hard and sacrifice, they can be an Olympic champion as well,” he said in a phone interview. “(After Feb. 12), I told everyone to stay optimistic, continue to work hard. The big picture is, regardless of whether the Olympics continue to keep wrestling or not, it’s still a really great sport.”
Wrestling has long been at the heart at the Olympic movement, which is what made February’s news so shocking. Some thought modern pentathlon would have been dropped. Instead, the IOC executive board tapped a sport that dates to the ancient Olympics and has been part of the Olympic program at every modern Games except 1900.
Wrestling’s leaders knew all hope was not lost. In May, the IOC would pick three sports as finalists to fill the opening. In September, it would choose the replacement. Wrestling was eligible to try to get its spot back without missing any Games.
Since February, its international federation (FILA) made sweeping changes and campaigned vigorously. “Keep Olympic Wrestling” and “Save Olympic Wrestling” became mottos at special events where the U.S. and wrestling powers Iran and Russia united.
Swiss Raphael Martinetti resigned as FILA president in February. Nenad Lalovic of Serbia came in and brought the sport to where it is today, a favorite to stay in the Games. The Associated Press dubbed its chances “a virtual lock” to beat baseball-softball and squash.
What could hold wrestling back? Voters may want fresh blood in the Games, or they may not want to reverse February’s decision.
Lalovic, described as a chain smoker, burly and charismatic by media, was asked to rate his confidence level this week.
“Confidence, that’s a hard word,” he said in a phone interview. “Anyway, I’m optimistic, keeping in mind we’ve done everything possible for our sport, for this sport, in six months.”
The changes included a move toward gender equality, recommended by the IOC. It added two weight classes to women’s freestyle, cutting one men’s freestyle and one men’s Greco-Roman class. That makes six classes each for the three disciplines. The scoring system and rules were also simplified.
Retired Olympic wrestlers joined Hollywood celebrities and stars from other spots in supporting the cause. Like 2000 Olympic champion Rulon Gardner, whose work included an appearance with 2008 Olympic champion Henry Cejudo on “The Tonight Show” with wrestling supporter Jay Leno in March.
Gardner said this week he had zero confidence going into the vote, not that he thinks wrestling will lose but because he’s staying cautious.
“I don’t take anything for granted,” he said. “I know some people are like, ‘Oh yeah, no problem, we’re in.’ Uh-uh.”
Burroughs’ immediate plans won’t change after he sees the IOC decision Sunday. He’ll return to the mat in preparation for another transatlantic flight next week. Destination Budapest, Hungary, for the World Championships.
“I’ll be watching very closely,” Burroughs said. “I know all the wrestling fans will be posted by their computers, by their laptops, waiting for the decision to be made.”
Dec 5, 2013, 1:46 PM EST
Curling officials want a mixed-gender event in the 2018 Olympics. “Mixed doubles is part of our sport that has taken off around the world,” World Curling Federation president Kate Caithness said, according to The Associated Press. Mixed doubles curling includes teams of one man and one woman, as opposed to the traditional four-person teams in the…
Dec 5, 2013, 1:00 PM EST
Ryan Lochte is swimming again, a little over one month after tearing an MCL and spraining an ACL when he said a fan ran into him. He plans to be “back in full swing” after Christmas, according to NBC Charlotte. A November report said he would resume training in February. “I feel like a little kid…
Dec 5, 2013, 12:43 PM EST
Lindsey Vonn will ski competitively for the first time in 10 months on Friday, less than three weeks after partially tearing her ACL in a training crash. The Olympic downhill champion said Thursday she’s “confident and excited” about racing in a World Cup downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta, according to The Associated Press. Vonn took her first…
Dec 5, 2013, 12:03 PM EST
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Dec 5, 2013, 11:29 AM EST
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Dec 5, 2013, 10:24 AM EST
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Dec 5, 2013, 9:58 AM EST
The Sochi Olympic torch relay, among other exploits, has included sled dogs and reindeer (and, it is expected, a dolphin). Add a camel to the list. A two-humped camel will carry an Olympic torch in the city of Chelyabinsk, the site above which a meteor exploded on Feb. 15. The Olympic torch relay is scheduled…
Dec 5, 2013, 9:23 AM EST
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Dec 5, 2013, 8:17 AM EST
Lindsey Vonn is working her way back for Sochi, but it’s still unknown if Tiger Woods will be there in February. Woods was asked if he’s “making plans to be in Sochi” on Wednesday. “I think that’s just day to day,” Woods said at the Northwestern Mutual Challenge in Sherwood Oaks, Calif. “We just don’t know how her…
Dec 5, 2013, 7:20 AM EST
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Dec 4, 2013, 2:46 PM EST
Lindsey Vonn is one step closer to skiing competitively for the first time in 10 months. The Olympic downhill champion took an official downhill training run in near-zero-degree temperatures in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Wednesday afternoon, site of World Cup races this weekend. She completed the course in 1 minute, 59.53 seconds, the 22nd fastest of…
Dec 4, 2013, 12:57 PM EST
Burton revealed its patchwork designs for the U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team on Tuesday. “We’re really proud that the 2014 uniform builds on Burton’s legacy of creating fun, unconventional designs that stray from the formal, traditional look of most uniforms,” said Greg Dacyshyn, Chief Creative Officer at Burton Snowboards, in a press release. “The vintage quilt and…
Dec 4, 2013, 12:26 PM EST
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Dec 4, 2013, 10:33 AM EST
NBC Olympics added Ato Boldon, Mary Carillo and Cris Collinsworth as correspondents for its Sochi 2014 coverage, joining Maria Sharapova. Boldon, a four-time Olympic medalist sprinter for Trinidad and Tobago, will make his Winter Olympic broadcast debut. Boldon, 39, covered track and field for NBC Olympics at the 2008 and 2012 Games. Carillo, working her 12th Olympics, will be the host and…
Dec 4, 2013, 9:45 AM EST
A likely U.S. bid for the 2024 Olympics might be rivaled north of the border, but a leading Canadian Olympic official believes a North American city would have a better chance in 2028. “The way IOC does it, the games go to Europe, the Americas and then somewhere else,” Paul Henderson, former International Olympic Committee…
Dec 3, 2013, 9:21 PM EST
The U.S. Bobsled team made one change to its three women’s bobsled pairings for the second World Cup of the season in Park City, Utah, this weekend. The top two sleds from last week’s opener in Calgary, Alberta, remain the same – Elana Meyers and Aja Evans and Jamie Greubel and Katie Eberling. The third sled will again by driven by Jazmine Fenlator,…
Dec 3, 2013, 6:50 PM EST
Lindsey Vonn‘s status for this weekend’s races will be determined Thursday. The Olympic downhill champion is expected to take an official downhill training run Wednesday in Lake Louise, Alberta, two days before the first official World Cup race there. A decision on her participation in downhills Friday and Saturday and a super-G on Sunday will…
Dec 3, 2013, 6:38 PM EST
The U.S. Olympic Committee won’t narrow down its list of candidate cities for a 2024 Olympic bid until after the Sochi Games. A USOC group scheduled visits to potential bid cities including Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco, Around the Rings reported in November. City visits will continue into December and January, USOC CEO Scott…
Dec 3, 2013, 3:16 PM EST
NBC Olympics swimming analyst Rowdy Gaines earned plenty of attention for his wild Iron Bowl finish reaction on Saturday night, but he might get a little heat from his fellow Auburn alums now. First, Gaines’ recollection of that crazy Tigers victory. His wife, Judy, was filming Gaines watching Alabama kicker Adam Griffith line up to attempt a hail-mary, 57-yard, time-expiring,…
Dec 3, 2013, 1:58 PM EST
Showers of praise keep raining on U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin, but perhaps comparisons to Lindsey Vonn are not the way to go. “When they say I’m the next Lindsey Vonn, they are shooing her out the door, and I don’t think that’s fair,” Shiffrin told TODAY.com. “Imagine being her, reading that someone is the next Lindsey Vonn…
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