The leaders of the International Olympic Committee has announced its intentions to drop the sport of wrestling from the Olympic programme. In short this means that wrestling – which is as old as the Olympic Games themselves – will cease to take place from the 2020 Games onwards.
The decision was made to remove wrestling from the 25 core sports and retain the modern pentathlon in its place. IOC spokesman Mark Adams told USA Today:
“This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics. 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.”
The news is likely to have a detrimental effect on companies like the WWE as it has often relied on amateur wrestling and the Olympics to scout future talents. Jack Swagger, Kurt Angle, Shelton Benjamin and Brock Lesnar all come from strong amateur backgrounds and the worry is with no Olympic payoff no one will peruse the sport as a career choice after 2020.
There has been no official word from WWE yet but various names at TNA Impact Wrestling have spoken out about the news.
Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle told FOX Sports:
“The wrestling community is in a state of shock with this decision– we can not sit back and allow this to happen. I will do whatever it takes and work with my company TNA Weestling and the competitive wrestling community to determine what we need to do to reverse this decision.”
TNA President Dixie Carter has also spoken out urging the WWE to join them in a bid to change the IOC’s minds:
“We need to join together right now. We encourage our own Impact Wrestling community, WWE and wrestling organizations worldwide as well as competitive amateur coaches and athletes to have a unified voice to make sure wrestling will be an Olympic sport in 2020.”
It remains to be seen if TNA and the like can make any real difference. WWE on the other hand – a company that may actually have the power to implement a change – have not yet addressed the situation.
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