Wrestling Still Alive in Olympic Discussion
Wrestling Still Alive in Olympic DiscussionWrestling, squash and baseball/softball on the short-list for inclusion.
May 29, 2013
STILLWATER – Only three months after being put on the chopping block from the 2020 Olympics, wrestling has made its way back into discussion as it was announced today in St. Petersburg, Russia, by the International Olympic Committee that wrestling, along with softball/baseball and squash, has made the short-list of sports seeking inclusion into the 2020 Summer Games.
Each of the eight sports vying for inclusion into the games made its case to the IOC executive board on Wednesday at the Lenexpo Convention Center in Russia. The executive board then went into three rounds of voting. The sport with a majority eight votes in each round would advance the final decision in September.
Quickly earning a spot on the short-list was wrestling, which was decided in only one ballot in the first round. Baseball and softball, which share a bid, was approved in the second round after seven ballots. Finally, after three ballots in the third round, squash was admitted. *
“It was great news today for Olympic wrestling,” said six-time world champion and OSU wrestling coach John Smith. “I’m very proud of our committees around the world, especially the Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling, for quickly coming together to push wrestling forward.”
Wrestling’s governing body, FILA, found its way back into good graces after the initial decision in February with a change in its leadership and making the sport more fan-friendly with new rules.
“Wrestling needed to make the rules changes they did, and once they did, it gave the executive board an avenue to put wrestling on the short-list because it was a different wrestling than they saw in February,” FILA member Jim Scherr said.
In September, the IOC general assembly will meet together in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the final vote for inclusion. Until then, all eyes will be on Stillwater, Okla., next month as Oklahoma State University hosts the United States World Team Trials.
“We’ve won a tough semifinal bout, so to speak. It’s time to get ready for the finals,” Smith said. “We’ve got a lot of momentum. We’ve got the opportunity to host the World Team Trials from June 21-23, and we need to put on a great show. This would be a great time for fans to be supporting wrestling.”