High school wrestling and Tampa Bay practically go hand in hand.
From Brandon High School’s championship-winning program to Clearwater Olympian Jared Frayer, the sport and its loyal athletes make headlines both on the local and national level.
Now, the International Olympic Committee wants to drop this sport from its 2020 roster. The IOC’s executive board decided on Feb. 12 it no longer wanted to see Greco-Roman wrestling in the games.
While the executive board’s decision could be overturned later this summer, ESPN is reporting that isn’t likely to happen.
The problem, ESPN reports, is that wrestling just doesn’t have the following other sports do. Wrestling tickets didn’t sell out during the 2012 London Games and television audience numbers are also low, according to ESPN.
Even so, it can easily be argued that wrestling is a time-honored Olympic tradition — not to mention a Tampa Bay area favorite.
Wrestling was a part of the ancient Olympic Games and it was featured in the very first modern Olympics that were staged in 1896 in Athens. If the IOC’s decision stands, the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games will be the sport’s last.
Here’s what we’d like to know from you, Tampa Bay: Do you agree with the IOC’s decision? Should wrestling be spiked from the Games? Or should it be left in as a testament to the competition’s roots? Share your comments below and also be sure to let us know about any local athletes whose aspirations have been dashed by the decision.