Olympic Wrestling Dropped

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

I thought it was bad enough that the modern Olympics lacked pankration, but now wrestling has been dropped by the International Olympic Committee:

Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling will be contested at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but they will be excluded from the 2020 Summer Games, for which a host city has not yet been named, the I.O.C. said Tuesday.

The decision to drop wrestling was made by secret ballot by the Olympic committee’s 15-member executive board at its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The exact vote and reasons for the decision were not given in detail.


Sports like snowboarding have been added to the Winter Games to broaden the audience. Golf and rugby will be added to the 2016 Rio Games. Among the sports that wrestling must compete with for future inclusion are climbing, rollerblading and wakeboarding.

The I.O.C. may have also grown frustrated that Greco-Roman wrestling did not include women, experts said. Women began participating in freestyle wrestling at the 2004 Athens Games.

Politics also play an inevitable role in the workings of the I.O.C. Among the sports surviving Tuesday’s vote was modern pentathlon, also threatened and less popular internationally than wrestling. But modern pentathlon, a five-event sport that includes shooting, horseback riding and running, was invented by Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Games. And it is supported by Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., son of the former Olympic Committee president and a member of its board.

Wrestling was the final event of the ancient pentathlon, which comprised the long jump, javelin throw, discus throw, stadion (~200-meter) sprint, and wrestling.

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