On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee shocked the wrestling community by dropping the sport from the 2020 Games. Wrestling has been a part of every Olympics since the modern games began in 1896.
Naturally, scorned hordes took to social media to voice their displeasure with the International Olympic Committee’s decision.
USA Wrestling executive director Rich Bender was among the first to chime in with a statement
saying he was “surprised and disappointed” by the announcement.
A Facebook community called Keep Wrestling in the Olympics, spearheaded by USA Wrestling, has attracted more than 60,000 fans before it was 24 hours old.
Jordan Burroughs, one of the sport’s most visible athletes, posted his disappointment to his Facebook page
. The post received more than 5,500 likes, 400 comments and nearly 2,200 shares.
“I will do my share in protecting not only my dream, but every little wrestlers dream worldwide. Still, if wrestling is axed, it will be tough to look kids in the eye for the rest of my life and tell them that they can't follow their dreams anymore, they're no longer Olympic hopefuls. They've lost to an opponent that they've never had a shot against. One that's never even worn a headgear. The IOC. Heartbroken.”
For its part, the IOC hasn’t released a response to the backlash, only this blog post
outlining its decision.
“The EB recommended that wrestling, governed by the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA), not be included on the list of core sports. Wrestling will now join the seven shortlisted sports— baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu—vying for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic programme as an additional sport.
The IOC’s Facebook
page doesn’t allow the public to post comments except on its own posts.
In his statement, USA Wrestling chief Rich Bender said, “We look forward to telling the story about wrestling to the International Committee leadership and the entire world about our great sport and why it should be part of the Olympic movement forever.“
How it plans to tell this story remains a mystery thus far.