There may be no wrestling in the 2020 Olympics, wherever they are held. (Paul Sancya / AP)

The International Olympic Committee’s executive board today recommended that wrestling be eliminated from the 2020 Olympics, a decision that all but guarantees that one of the oldest sports in the Games will be dropped.

The recommendation was a shocker, given the presence of the words “Greco-Roman” in one style of competition and the fact that the sport was part of the first modern Olympics in 1896. The decision is not, however, final — at least not yet.

“This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “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 [other] 25 core sports.”

Those sports are, according to athletics (track and field, marathons), rowing, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, gymnastics, weightlifting, handball, hockey, judo, swimming, modern pentathlon, taekwondo, tennis, table tennis, shooting, archery, triathlon, sailing and volleyball.

Wrestling now goes into a hopper with seven other sports hoping to be the one chosen for inclusion in 2020. They’ll make presentations to the executive board in May, with the final vote coming in September. The seven other sports are baseball/softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu.

Among the factors taken into consideration, according to the IOC, were television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity. Wrestling lost out this time, the Associated Press reported, to taekwondo, field hockey and modern pentathlon, which has been an Olympic competition since 1912. Its governing body lobbied energetically and successfully with the executive committee.

“We have promised things and we have delivered,” Klaus Schormann, the president of modern pentathlon’s governing body, said (via AP). “That gives me a great feeling. It also gives me new energy to develop our sport further and never give up.”

So the modern pentathlon stays. What sport, then, should be dropped from the Olympics?


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IOC executive committee recommends dropping wrestling

Forum: Which sport should be cut?