Earlier this week, the International Olympic Committee announced that wrestling, a sport that has been since the original Olympic games, is once again part of the summer games.
Other than a few rule changes, such as a takedown is now two points instead of one, it’s as if they were never kicked out of the games in the first place.
What I don’t understand is why was it kicked out? Why did a committee have to vote it back into the games over sports such as squash? I think a big part of the Olympic tradition is seeing which country has the stronger athletes. What sport single-handedly exemplifies strength more than wrestling? Squash?
I’m very bias about this. As a former high school and collegiate wrestler, I know what it takes just to participate in this sport. You ever hear someone say, “I play wrestling.” No. Because you don’t “play” wrestling. You simply wrestle. It’s not a sport in the sense that you play to have fun. You give part of your self when you wrestle.
It isn’t like taking off the pads and going home to unwind. You are a wrestler from the point you wake up early for a morning run, to when you go to bed hungry, tired and dehydrated.
Just to make weight is a battle. To make it through the day – while the normal world is eating and drinking and having fun – is a struggle only few know. On top of, let’s call it extreme dieting, you have to work or go to school, then practice.
Try making it through the day without a cup of coffee. Seem hard?
Wrestling is the only sport of its kind. One-on-one. Mano a mano. No one to fall back on. No one to blame. It’s you vs. them. No we, no team.
Imagine being tossed in a gladiator pit. That’s pretty much the concept of a wrestling match. A guy you don’t even know wants to kill you. If you don’t kill him first, you’re dead.
I don’t think that wrestling gets nearly enough credit. It’s an art form; understood by some, done by little. Anyone who has wrestled can tell you how difficult it is to make it through a season.
As Olympic gold medalist Dan Gable famously said, “Once you’ve wrestled, everything in life comes easy.”
And they wanted to kick this sport out of the Olympics? Where does the IOC get the balls? This sport should be the highlight of the Olympics. One person is out on a mat to defend our pride; our patriotism; our country. And he does all this hoping his country is behind him.
We need to start standing behind the true Olympic athletes. Sure, it’s impressive to run fast, but I have a car to take me somewhere when I’m in a hurry.
Appreciate a real athlete when you see one.