When news broke that the International Olympic Committee had opted to drop amateur wrestling from the Olympic Games, effective 2020, combat sports fans expressed their shock and disbelief at the decision.
However, Eric Akin, a former two-time Olympic alternate, 1999 World Team Member, and silver medalist at the 2000 World Cup, who won silver at the world championships, showed no surprise at the decision.
"The IOC said they were fed up with the controversies at FILA," explained Akin. "They’ve been warning FILA for 3 Olympics. In 2008, the Greco-Roman wrestler threw his bronze medal across the arena at the awards ceremony. It was because he took two raw calls, two Olympics in a row. He can’t come back."
"I think (the IOC is) just fed up with what FILA is done. There have been a lot of bad reports after Olympics. Countries reporting FILA for different controversies. We kind of did it to ourselves because we let FILA control wrestling and everyone was afraid to step up. They just want to play the political game."
"Wrestling is a sport that doesn’t have a lot of popularity in some countries. What they started to do brackets they would seed you by having you pull a keychain or a trinket with a number when you step off the scale. They say they do that to let other countries get to the medal matches. So the first weight class will happen and Russia or the US will get three golds. Then their next group of guys will come out and start competing and they’ll get screwed really bad. Their excuse will be 'you guys already have three golds, you don’t need another one.' Well that other guy doesn’t care how many his country has. He wants it for himself. They act like it’s something they delegate to countries."
"What wrestling really needs is a brand new governing body. I wouldn’t be surprised if the IOC says 'FILA, you’re done.' Wrestling needs to appoint itself a new governing body because it’s not FILA."
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Russian Vladimir Uruimagov, coach multiple Olympic gold medalists offered a decidedly less plausible explanation - it was gays.
“If they expel wrestling now, that means that gays will soon run the whole world,” said Uruimagov told rsport.ru, calling the decision “a blow to masculine origins.”
“It turns out this committee is headed by representative of these minorities," clarifying that he meant sexual minorities.
“It is necessary for millions around the world who understand that this is a man’s sport and who understand the need to continue the human race to go out and explain their position to the Olympic Committee. We should prove and explain that in any other case there is no future.”
In fact, none of the 15 members of the IOC executive board have any apparent background in the gay rights movements. Indeed, board chair and IOC president Jacques Rogge has been criticized by some gay activists, after he rejected calls to ban countries that discriminate against homosexuals.
Thus far, the IOC has not said why wrestling, humankind's oldest sport, was excluded from the "core" list of confirmed sports, while leaving for example Pentathlon, a sport that less than 1 in 1,000 can identify. In the absence of a coherent explanation, demented rants like those by Uruimagov will likely continue.
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