The modern Olympic games began in 1896 and ever since then, wrestling has been one of the sports that has continued its excellence and has constantly competed in the highly coveted Olympics. However, all of that will change by the 2020 Summer Olympics when wrestling will be eliminated from the Olympics.
The Olympics, also known as the Games of the Olympiad, have truly come a long way since its creation. In its first ever competition, there were only nine sports which included a total of 43 events. Those games lasted a mere 10 days and incorporated 14 countries. There were approximately 241 athletes that competed in the 1st Olympiad.
In the most recent 2012 Summer Olympics, there were 26 sports which branched out to 302 events in all. More astounding than the dramatic increase in competitions is that 204 countries and 10,820 athletes participated at the highest level of their respective sport.
Beyond the impressive increase in everything related to the Olympics, the culture surrounding these games has transformed incredibly. Having your sport incorporated in the frenzy of sporting events that occur during the Olympics popularizes a sport tremendously.
Although sports such as basketball, soccer and tennis are already popular around the world due to their professional leagues internationally, not many other sports have that. For those less popular events, the Olympics is the place where they make a name for themselves and the unknown athletes become heroes around the world. That is simply the power of the Olympics.
What would Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt be without the Olympics? Yes, they would still be the best at their events and incredible athletes but how many people regularly watch swimming and track? The majority of people wouldn’t have even heard of them if it weren’t for the numerous records they broke. All it takes is one gold medal or one world record for a kid from Maryland or Jamaica to capture the international spotlight.
So when wrestling is eliminated from the Olympics, you know that it’s a major blow to wrestlers around the world. The good news to this is that it hasn’t officially been removed as there will be one final vote in September in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The most remarkable statistic of them all is that compared to the pentathlon which is a mix between shooting, horseback-riding, running, swimming and fencing, wrestling has nearly three times as many countries participating. That doesn’t include the additional 10.5 million followers wrestling has over the modern pentathlon. Yet, the pentathlon remains an Olympic sport.
Although wrestling isn’t officially out of the Olympics, the entire sport should be holding their breath as they are only one vote away from taking a catastrophic hit. Despite being relentless, wrestlers around the world might not be able to get up from this take down.