FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – The International Olympic Committee made a major announcement that could ultimately have quite the impact on high school athletics in our area.
The IOC announced wrestling has been pulled from the list of 25 core sports. It was one of the founding sports in the modern day Olympics, and now it will have to vie for a spot to be included in the 2020 Olympic Games.
With 29 wrestlers from 16 high schools gearing up for the state finals meet this weekend, the timing could not have been worse.
The IOC claims in an effort to keep the Olympic Games relevant they systematically review every sport following the conclusion of each edition of the Games.
While wrestling has not yet been officially eliminated, it will be put up against sports like baseball, softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding, and wushu. To many in the wrestling community, the announcement came as a bit of a shock.
"That was kind of the pinnacle. It'd be like taking the super bowl away for football players,” says Carroll wrestling coach Scott Raypole. “You're also then taking away their heroes. Jordan Burroughs you're taking away. You're taking away the Cael Sandersons that win those Olympic golds. It's like taking Peyton Manning or Tom Brady out of football. Who do these wrestlers really look up to then?"
A select few members of the Carroll team got to meet Olympic wrestling gold medalist Jordan Burroughs prior to the last Olympics, which seemed to be the highlight of their career.
Senior wrestler Spencer Malcolm described his hopes for the sport saying "I really hope that doesn't happen because it's something that is really dear to me and I really love watching wrestling and being around wrestling. And so it's something that I really want to stay in the Olympics and never get taken out."
Fellow senior Riley Lefever echoed his surprise. "I was pretty shocked because Olympics has always been the pinnacle of wrestling. Whenever you think of wrestling and the greatest wrestlers they've always won the Olympics. And they haven't really heard any talk of cancelling out wrestling or anything like that, and it just shocked the wrestling world I guess."
Efforts to save wrestling from an Olympic elimination have already been gaining ground on YouTube and Facebook, but Raypole thinks although the sport will survive, local interest in wrestling could see a decline.
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