Since the modern Olympic Games were established in 1894, their motto has been Citius, Altius, Gortius or Faster, Higher, Stronger.
Few sports have embodied that phrase, or the Olympic ideal of athletic competition purely for its own sake, more than wrestling.
The International Olympic Committee’s decision to drop wrestling from the 2020 summer games is outrageous — especially so given the fact that one of the stated reasons is that wrestling matches don’t attract enough TV viewers.
Wrestling has been part of the Olympics since the modern games began, and the Greco-Roman version goes back to the ancient games. Banishing wrestling from the Olympics is the equivalent of doing away with the 100-meter dash or the pole vault.
Oklahoma has a proud wrestling tradition. The state and its two largest universities have produced 25 Olympic medalists, 15 of whom won gold. Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma have at times dominated college wrestling in America.
The Olympic committee’s decision, if it stands, will have a negative impact on amateur wrestling in the United States. That is because unlike other major amateur sports — football, basketball, baseball — there is no potentially lucrative professional version to which participants can aspire. Olympic competition has represented the peak of the sport.
Ironically, the Olympic committee could have dumped boxing, a “sport” that has become so corrupted by politics, nationalism and pure greed that the judging of its matches is laughable and often bears no relation to what goes on in the ring.
The honorable sport of wrestling now must join seven sports, including something called “wakeboarding,” to beg for readmission to the Olympics.
— Distributed by The Associated Press