An End to Olympic Wrestling: What Do You Think?

The International Olympic Committee’s executive board wants to boot the sport from the 2020 games. We’d like to hear your thoughts on this, Tampa Bay!

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.

Toni Whitt February 14, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Of course we're not ignoring area powerhouse Manatee High School which regularly brings wrestlers to the state competitions and has trained some amazing wrestlers here too. I know that the wrestlers here watch the college students compete. They have their favorites and they watch for the wrestlers in the Olympics.
Sherri Lonon February 14, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Absolutely not, Toni, and thanks for mentioning it! There are too many examples across the Bay area of wrestling excellence to list them all!
Michael D. February 14, 2013 at 08:20 PM
Personally not a fan of wrestling, but it is one of the original olympic sports. I do not see how they can disband wrestling which is an objectively score sport, but keep things like syncronized swimming, horeback riding, or dancing with a ribbon.
Irene Zoidis Wright February 14, 2013 at 11:30 PM
I understand the economics...but like a poster previously stated, this is a sport that is original to the Olympics!
robert perruchon February 15, 2013 at 02:13 AM
lb for lb it is the hardest individual sport. this sport is the oldest. I am wrestler and tried out for olyimpics in 90"s. get rid of fencing, beach volleyball. did they have beach volleyball back then in greece?
robert perruchon February 15, 2013 at 02:16 AM
why bother going to college for wrestling if there is nothing to look forward to but diploma. wrestlers go to college for Olympics!!!!!!
Gary D February 15, 2013 at 03:50 AM
Wrestling is a true sport of overall human stamina, endurance and intelligence. One of the original sports instead of getting rid of it they should try to understand it better and promote it.
Chuck R February 15, 2013 at 10:34 AM
There have been a lot of cases made for toughest individual sport, but I've read more than once that water polo is, physically, the toughest. As for non olympic sports, I've also read that motocross is close to the top. Obviously. wrestling is right up there, too, like you said - boxing too. But hey, I kinda like fencing. And forget Beach Volleyball. I bet those TV ratings are through the roof, at least in this country.
Chuck R February 15, 2013 at 10:40 AM
If the issue is TV ratings, they have to do something to make the audience understand it better. I've watched some high school wresting, and it is sometimes tough to figure out the scoring. UFC is huge. Get Joe Rogan and Randy Couture to host and comment on the wrestling events. Bring in other well known MMA superstars who have a big background in wrestling. If they did this, it could eclipse almost everything else, I mean as far as TV ratings.
Warren Firschein February 15, 2013 at 01:36 PM
I think it is a real shame that decisions on events are made on a basis of revenue and television ratings. At least the IOC is being honest and forthright about their decision-making process and what really matters to them. All of these athletes train very hard for most of their lives for a chance to compete internationally, and a berth on the Olympic team is of course the pinnacle achievement. The Olympics should be a place where athletes that compete in sports that don't enjoy commercial success have a chance to demonstrate their skills in front of a world-wide audience. And Michael D.--that includes synchronized swimming, too, which is an incredible sport that requires great athletic skill and years of training. Frankly, I'm tired of people piling on synchro simply because they don't know any better and all they know about it is from the Saturday Night Live satires. The Olympics is where these unloved sports should have the opportunity to flourish.
Michael D. February 15, 2013 at 01:59 PM
Warren, I didn't say it wasn't athletic or skilled. That is an agrument you are making, not me. I just disagree with any sport that is subjectively scored. It causes too much room for error. I like my sports to be objectively scored, where there too much room for human error.
Warren Firschein February 15, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Michael, I understand your point. There are a number of sports that are a combination of athletics and performance--gymnastics, ice skating, synchronized swimming, maybe even boxing, too (yes, boxing). I know there are different opinions on this, but I feel that these all have a place in the Olympics, because they all celebrate human athletic achievement. Watching these sports on the Olympics gives many children the motivation to try them for themselves, and the dreams to someday be on the international stage. That is what the Olympic spirit is about--not making the biggest buck. I wouldn't suggest adding dart-throwing or chess, which is objectively scored but involves limited athletic skill. Sports like wrestling provide little opportunity for riches and fame outside the Olympic arena, and these athletes participate just for a love of the sport. I'm really stunned that the IOC would place sponsorships and TV ratings over the heart of the Olympic spirit.
Michael D. February 15, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Warren, I agree with your point. And I'm not adovacing getting rid of any of these sports. But if you are going to ask me, would I choose Wrestling or one of the subjective scored sports which does including Olympic Boxing which is a sport I personally love. Then I would say Wrestling belongs before them, in the Olympcis.
Greg Giordano February 15, 2013 at 04:41 PM
I love the Olympics, as so many others do. It is an event in our house whenever the summer or winter games around. My kids look forward to them as much as I do. One of the great things about the Olympics is the blending of the old and the new. What other sporting event has both Greco-Roman Wrestling and Trampoline? One of the oldest sports in history and one of the newest to gain admittance to the Games. Wrestling, in fact, is one of the few sports that were around at the beginning of the Olympics. The sport exemplifies the international competiton as much as gymnastics or swimming do. Would the IOCC consider removing gymnastics from the line-up? Of course not. That sport, as does swimming, makes too much money. Admittedly I am not the biggest fan of wrestling but I can appreciate the sport. The athletes who compete are well trained, understand strategy and must have incredible stamina. If it wasn't for declining ticket sales would this classic sport even be considered for elimination from the Games? Instead of worrying about the profitability of this one sport, perhaps the IOCC should consider subsidizing this piece of athletic history. There are people, athletes and trainers, let alone their families and friends, who will be negatively impacted if this sport is stricken from the line-up.
Linda February 15, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Keep amateur, but PLEASE ban pro, if I think it's dumb it's dumb.
RD February 16, 2013 at 03:47 AM
I understood getting rid of baseball because few countries play the sport but they keep beach volleyball but get rid of wrestling, an international sport that's existed since the beginning of time? Yeah, a bunch of white men prefer girls in bkinis to men in hand to hand combat. Big surprise.
Samuel Clemens February 16, 2013 at 02:05 PM
I love how they blame ratings when the coverage is a joke. Thankfully we do not have cable, but that doesn't mean I am not aware of the joke that is the Olympics on NBC. With the technology today, we should be able to view more events than we are shown. We should be able to watch events in real time, not 17 week tape delayed. We should be able to watch more coverage of more sports......not forced to watch the same handful of sports every 4 years. Perhaps if the coverage was about the Olympics, opposed to generating revenue because of all the advertising, then wrestling would be more popular. I grew up around sports, both participating and coaching and when it comes to excitement, both from the event and the crowd, nothing compares to wrestling. I played football in front of thousands and it was peanuts compared to wrestling in front of 200 people. Perhaps the networks need to get join us in the 21st century. I guarantee they could have garnered so much attention for wrestling if they ever chose to do it. How many of you have ever heard of Cael Sanderson??


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