Wrestling with an Olympic Outrage

wrestling banner 2Wrestling banner 1If anyone needs a clear sign of the end of Western Civilization, as we know it, they can look no further than the decision of the International Olympic Committee to drop wrestling from the Olympic program beginning with the 2020 Games.

Somehow, the brilliant minds that guide the modern Olympic movement saw fit to preserve team handball, rhythmic gymnastics, and badminton over a sport that has been an Olympic staple since 708 BC.

The-Ancient-Olympics-2Olympic wrestling has a time-honored place among such revered, historic, millennia-old classical athletic events as marathon running, sprinting, and tossing the javelin and discus. You won’t see beach volleyball or curling pictured on ancient Greek vases, but scenes of grappling wrestlers festoon plates, vases and mosaics throughout ancient Greece: the birthplace of the Olympic Games.

Wrestling 2For the ancient Greeks, wrestling was highly valued as a form of military exercise without weapons. For those of us who grappled for high school wrestling teams (like Cleveland Central Catholic), scholastic freestyle wrestling was the one-on-one crucible that tested our will to achieve personal excellence – and our capacity to do more than we ever imagined we could.

Wrestling 1Of all my high school experiences, it was my years as a varsity wrestler, under the guidance of my inspired coach Joel Solomon, that taught me the value of hard work, perseverance, commitment to a goal — and to never, never sell myself short: to never quit on myself.

Right now, across America and around the world, the sport of wrestling is teaching those values to young men and women – as they strive for what?

DownloadedFile-6Do high school, college and Olympic wrestlers strive for professional riches? (There’s no real professional wrestling. Sorry, WWE.)

Do they compete for lucrative endorsements? (Did the great NCAA and Olympic Champions Dan Gable and Cael Sanderson make a fortune selling Wheaties – let alone a Rolex watch or a KIA Optima?)

DownloadedFile-5The boys and girls who grapple on the high school and college wrestling mats of America (and around the world) do so to measure themselves against their competition. And the very best do so with one goal in mind: to someday compete for an NCAA championship, to win the U.S.A. Olympic trials – and compete for an Olympic Gold Medal. Why take that away from them?

Wrestling, both freestyle and Greco-Roman events, goes back to the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896 — which means that wrestling had been an Olympic sport for 2,686 years.

DownloadedFile-2And this year, the IOC decides that wrestling is no longer an Olympic sport???

For shame, IOC, for shame!

If this incomprehensible decision stands, then I have watched my final Olympic Games.

If wrestling is not reinstated as an Olympic Sport, I will never watch the Olympic Games again.

DownloadedFile-3Am I serious?

Take a look at Dan Gable.

Does Mr. Gable look serious?

8 Comments

Filed under History, Sports, Truth

8 responses to “Wrestling with an Olympic Outrage

  1. Jerry Getz.

    Truly an outrage.

    JG

  2. Insane. Clearly it’s all about getting a more telegenic sport on the roster. Wrestling is not a big nation medals sweep sport either, so the softball argument is null and void. Remember? Women’s softball was eliminated on the excuse that not enough countries played it, but in truth it was because the US women were so dominant…and yet, that was changing, and other nations were gaining parity. In cutting it, the IOC basically ensured American dominance in the sport. But wrestling? Seriously? One of the few truly pure one-on-one sports left? WRONG. Just wrong.

  3. Excellent post, Paul. I enjoyed wrestling in school, though I never was on a team. I will never forget, however, you telling us about Coach Joel Solomon when Henry Hall came of age.
    But thank God the Olympic Committee has kept their hands off badminton!

  4. Mark Emond

    You’re so right, Paul. It’s a gross decision. It MUST be rescinded. Mark Emond

  5. Glenn Steiner

    Obvious, it is, that the heirarchy of the Olympics should abandon Wrestling, since they have never strived for excellence on the mat. Had they, they would understand that wrestling is a prime ‘life-building and life-preparing’ sport of champions. Nothing else comes close. We used to ‘eat’ football and basketball players for lunch due to our conditioning (…and I varsity-ed in football for 4 years on offense and defense). There is no ‘team’ to fall back upon, you have only the mirror to blame.

    • You’re right, Glenn. On all counts. I lettered in football and wrestling — and wrestlers trained harder than anyone. Hell, we ran more than anyone but the cross country team. And we finished every practice by running a sub 6-minute mile. If you didn’t finish in under 6-minutes, you ran penalty laps. And we all knew exactly why we were doing it. Because in that third period, when you hit that wall of exhaustion (and there’s no exhaustion like it), you had to reach deep and find something more inside yourself. That’s what pure athletics is all about. Striving to reach your fullest human potential.

  6. There’s a petition on the White House website to get them to overturn the decision. I hope you all join me in signing it.

  7. What could they possibly be thinking?

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