Wrestling has well over 2,000 years of history and is one of the most popular sports around the world. Since the time of the Ancient Greeks, it has been the cornerstone of the Olympic Games.
So why remove it from Olympiad competition?
After a seven month battle, this question will no longer have to be juggled.
The reinstatement of this timeless sport has been announced to make the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Last spring, the International Olympic Committee voted to drop wrestling from the Olympics, along with a few other sports, in order to make room for new up-and-coming sports.
The decision left people around the world flabbergasted, including members of Pacific’s own wrestling squad.
“When the vote came down to drop wrestling I was extremely shocked as was the whole wrestling community,” said men and women’s Head Coach Severin Walsh.
“It made the international wrestling community evaluate its method of doing business and they found some major problems. They launched a massive campaign, done the right way, which mended many fences that needed to be fixed.”
When we think of wrestling, many of us would go back in time to Ancient Greece and the original Olympiads, when in fact it was the Sumerians of city-state Mesopotamia in early Iraq who began refereed competition around 5,000 years ago.
A little later in time, the Ancient Greeks captured the sport. They considered wrestling to be an art, and it was well respected.
Matches would take place between naked competitors, each covered in olive oil and sand to protect the skin.
Around 708 B.C. wrestling was the final and most important leg of the Pentathlon.
After competing through the discus, the javelin, the long jump, and the foot race, the one who was victor of the wrestling match was crowned the sole winner of the Games.
Throughout the years, wrestling has been part of every Olympiad, except for the 1900 Olympics.
It was because of forgery and the announcement of false victories that the game lost support. Not to worry, however. In short time wrestling regained its prowess.
Another milestone was reached more recently. In 2004, in honor of the Athens Games, female wrestling became an official discipline in the Olympic program. The goal of the IOC was to establish and maintain equality in sport.
“I am very happy the IOC got it right,” said Walsh. “In the end I really felt that it came down to numbers and the amount of world-wide participation that wrestling offers. Wrestling opens the doors for so many more people, men and women, than just about any other sport.”
Although there will not be available space on the Olympic card for a new sport now that wrestling is back in, the world will be able to carry on with a long-lasting piece of history.
“It is an original sport of the Olympics and the loss, in my opinion, would tarnish the value of what it means to be an Olympic champion in any other sport that they offer,” said Walsh.
Baseball and softball, as well as squash were not so lucky, however.
Despite persuasive presentations given to the IOC about why th sports should stay in the Games, giving each a respectable number of votes from the IOC, there was not enough to bring them back.
Come the 2020 Olympics, Tokyo and the rest of the world will be able to enjoy wrestling from a whole new perspective.
In spite of the threat that would have ceased the growth of the sport, the ancient game will now continue making history for years to come.