MEDFORD, Ore. — Leaders of the International Olympic Committee are announcing that they are dropping wrestling for the 2020 games.
The surprise decision removes one of the oldest Olympic sports. There are 26 sports on the current Olympic program. Eliminating one sport allows the international Olympic committee to add a new sport to the program later this year. Wrestling will now join the seven shortlisted sports: Baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu – vying for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic program.
The elimination of wrestling from the Olympics could have an impact on participation in high school and college wrestling here in Oregon. Coach Joe Hagel of Cascade Christian High School says that without the glory of Olympic competition, or the glamour of popular professional leagues, aspiring wrestlers will have less motivation to compete in the sport.
“It will destroy the numbers I think for, across the country, the numbers will drop. In other countries as well, international style wrestling is gonna suffer from that, said Coach Joe Hagel.
Coach Hagel has played and coached a number of sports over his career. He says that in his experience, none have been more valuable in terms of character development than wrestling.