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Student Athletes: Olympics Dropping Wrestling ‘Ridiculous’

Wrestling students at Del Oro High School


The president of wrestling’s international federation has resigned after the Olympics recommended dropping the sport from the 2020 Summer Games, the group said Saturday.

Raphael Martinetti’s departure was announced in Phuket, Thailand, at a meeting of the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles.

The official stepped down to give another leader the chance to fight the Olympics’ decision, a FILA statement said. Nanad Lalovic, a FILA official, has been chosen as acting president.

The executive board of the International Olympic Committee announced its proposal on Tuesday.

“Wrestling will now join the seven shortlisted sports — baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu (a Chinese martial art) — vying for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic program as an additional sport,” the Olympic committee said in a statement.

The move sparked an international outcry and surprise. It prompted a number of the federation’s delegates at the Phuket meeting to hold Martinetti responsible for the widely unpopular decision. Martinetti is Swiss. Lalovic is Serbian.

At a meeting in Russia in May, representatives from the eight sports will make presentations for inclusion in the 2020 Games. The executive board will recommend one. The final word will come in a vote at the Olympic committee’s general session in Argentina in September.

The host city for the 2020 Summer Games will be chosen in September. Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid are the finalists.

The sport will be played at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Wrestling is seen as an iconic Olympic sport with a long tradition.

It was an integral part of the ancient Olympics and has been a competition in all but one of the modern Games since their inception in 1896, missing only the 1900 Games in Paris.

There are two types of Olympic wrestling competitions — freestyle and Greco-Roman.

The governing body for the sport in the United States was so appalled at the decision that it started a Facebook page, “Keep Wrestling in the Olympics.” Opponents of the decision also took to Twitter, posting with the hashtag #SaveOlympicWrestling.

Wrestling is a popular high school and college sport in the United States. It is immensely popular in many other countries, such as Russia, Turkey and Iran.

By Joe Sterling and Brad Lendon

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


Written references to wrestling date back to the 12th century B.C. and, usually, the Olympics are usually all about tradition but the International Olympic Committee seems to be saying out with the old – something very confusing to those out on the mat.

With just a few days left to practice before Division One sectional championships, besting Vacaville would normally be the only thing on the minds of Del Oro High School’s wrestlers.

A Tuesday decision by the IOC injected another thought into the gym.

“Wrestling’s like the oldest sport in the world. The first sport that started the Olympics back in Greece, so I think it’s ridiculous that they would cut that,” said senior Golden Eagle Patrick Neu.

“It’s always been there and it’s one of the staples of the Olympics, like a cornerstone and make the Olympics what it is today,” said senior Golden Eagle Johnny Zieour.

Wresting is on the rise in the United States.

The Del Oro kids and those in the school’s feeder system are just 120 of the 270,000 American high schoolers who participate.

Global popularity was one thing considered in the IOC’s initial no-vote, which shocks coach Clint Madden.

“In the middle eastern countries, some of those countries in there have been wrestling for thousands of years, all through the Russian countries,” said Madden.

But Madden admits his sport might not be holding its grip very well on IOC voting factors like ticket sales and TV ratings.

Mixed Martial Arts are making a grab there, as wrestling’s PR machine lags.

‘It was set up in the 40′s and hasn’t changed much,” said Madden, and he believes that needs to change.

If Madden’s sport doesn’t petition its way off the removal list in May, coaches feel the ultimate motivator for excellence may be lost.

When asked about the Olympics, Neu said, “(I) dream, about it you know? It’s a huge accomplishment if you make it to the Olympics.”

All that was a dream realized for 26-year-old wrestler and Bakersfield native Jake Varner who just won gold in London.

If wrestling’s governing body decides to petition for a spot in the 2020 games, the sport will be vying for one spot against seven other sports including baseball and wakeboarding.

Before Tuesday’s vote by the IOC, modern pentathlon was considered the sport at greatest risk for removal.

Do you know what sports are involved in modern pentathlon?