IOC leaders dropped wrestling from the Olympic program on Tuesday, a surprise decision that removes one of the oldest Olympic sports from the 2020 Games.
The IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon -- the event considered most at risk -- and remove wrestling instead from its list of 25 "core sports." The IOC board acted after reviewing the 26 sports on the current Olympic program. Eliminating one sport allows the International Olympic Committee to add a new sport to the program later this year.
Wrestling, which combines freestyle and Greco-Roman events, goes back to the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896.
Statement from Nebraska Wrestling Head Coach Mark Manning on the IOC’s recommendation to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympics:
“The wrestling community is shocked and disappointed by the IOC’s recommendation to eliminate wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games. The sport of wrestling has a great history in the Olympics dating back to the inaugural Games in Athens in 1896."
“Removing wrestling from the Olympics would have a far-reaching impact on our sport. It not only greatly affects our current Olympic athletes and future Olympians, but it would also damage the sport at the collegiate, high school and youth levels. Wrestling is the sixth-most popular boys’ high school sport in the United States with more than 275,000 participants, and at the collegiate level we have sold out the NCAA Championships the past four years, so the interest and passion for the sport is widespread. Hopefully, the IOC will take into account the impact of this decision on the American and international wrestling communities, and re-consider when they meet in May.”