Wrestling with my temper about bad decisions I’M A REASONABLE PERSON (at least I think I am, or at least I think I try to be, or at least I think I try to be most of the time). So when I hear about a decision that runs against all reason, I tend to get — well, not unreasonable, but certainly unpleasant. So let me say this in the nicest way I can right now: the IOC’s decision to not include wrestling as a “core sport” in the 2020 summer Olympics is one of the most boneheaded things ever. Granted, something has to go in order to make way for new sports. A maximum of 26 sports is allowed. In the last decision-making cycle, baseball and softball were voted out and two new sports, rugby and golf, were added. While I don’t necessarily agree with the omission of baseball and softball, the probable logic of that decision was explained to me as follows (and that’s a best-guess scenario since IOC votes and discussion are kept secret): baseball and softball were both new inclusions, and relatively few countries overall participated by sending teams, meaning the sport didn’t have the worldwide popularity the IOC was hoping for. Nobody has come forward with a theory on the exclusion of wrestling. Those who were following the IOC’s selection process had thought the sport of modern pentathlon was more squarely positioned on the chopping block. Some of their reasoning: during the London games, that sport featured athletes from 26 countries. Wrestling, by comparison (which nobody had even thought was endangered), had 71. (Did I say I thought modern pentathlon should be out? No. Stop composing rebuttals). Wrestling will have its chance to lobby for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics; unfortunately, it will be at the table against seven sports that have had a lot more time (in many cases, years) to prepare their arguments: squash, baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. That hardly seems fair to me. Taking wrestling out of the Olympics robs us all of the past. Wrestling is an ancient sport that has its roots in the original Greek Games, and it has been included since the modern Olympics began in 1896. But while I mourn for this huge and rich history, I more keenly feel the loss of the future. Many participants in the sport started as children with the dream of an Olympic medal. It’s what they hoped for, trained for and pursued. This robs them of their potential: achieving the highest honor the sport can hold. SDM MARY HELEN SPRECHER has been a technical writer for more than 20 years with the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA), the national association of designers, builders and suppliers of materials for athletic facilities. She has worked in meeting and convention planning for non-profit associations, and previously was a staff writer for a Baltimore, Maryland newspaper. She is a graduate of the Institute for Organization Management, a professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and has taught meeting planning and event management courses in the continuing studies program at Goucher College, located in Towson, Maryland. Her freelance writing includes coverage of topics in the areas of fitness, health, sports medicine and special education.
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