Continuing from my last post about “American Victory”, I was talking about wrestling and other non-mainstream sports deserving more publicity in the Olympics. Before I dive into this (no pun intended about Olympic diving) I just want everyone to know that wrestling is being voted on to be included or excluded in the 2020 Olympic Games in September. Not only would this lead to less publicity than what we have now, but it could start the extinction of the sport. Wrestling is being voted against baseball/ softball in the 2020 games. Either add baseball and take out wrestling or keep wrestling in. There was a preliminary vote with about eight other sports on which should be put into the Olympics, of which baseball and wrestling have moved to the final vote in September.
Now that the scene is set, unfortunately it seems the only thing on the minds of the Olympic committee is to put whichever sports in the Olympics which will generate the most amount of money. This is one thing that seems to never change over time, it is always all about the money. If the amount of seating, concessions, etc. is greater for wrestling than the projected amount for baseball, then we would have no problem staying in the Olympics. I am not sure where they base their numbers off of, but I would have to assume that wrestling would not generate as much revenue as baseball, which is more mainstream. If an olympic committee member was reading this and saw “more money baseball” they would probably read no further.
However, I am here to give a chance to these wrestlers to compete in 2020 by asking the Olympic committee to look past the money. And in order for this to happen, the television companies (which I mentioned in my previous post) will have to hold back their desire for only mainstream sports, and giving them all of the publicity. Basically, the Olympic committee determines their decisions based on revenue which they would make more money off of greater revenue- generating sports. The television companies want only the mainstream sports to have publicity so that they will have more advertisements. There will be more advertisements, and the ads will cost more when there are more viewers. Basically, the cycle all comes back to us, the people actually watching the sports. Because we are familiar with a sport we are not open to watching something which is not as popular. Which when millions of people are doing this, casts the unpopular sports into the shadows. So I encourage everyone reading to try looking at at sport that you wouldn’t normally look at. All athletes in the Olympics have achieved the greatest feat in their sport, so no one is greater than another (unless you want to get into an argument about which sport is the best).
Why save wrestling specifically? First of all, it is the world’s oldest documented sport, documented in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Wrestling has been in the Olympics since the beginning of the creation of the games. Why take out one of the founding sports of the Olympics out? Then, wrestling does not get much publicity aside from the Olympics, where it receives limited publicity. Taking away our one source of exposure to a larger audience would be a huge blow to the entire wrestling community. Also, in countries like Iran, wrestling is the primary sport. Their wrestling is like our American football. Imagine taking away football from us. Imagine the outcry. Think about how they must be taking this in Iran. You are taking away their biggest sport! USA wrestling and the International Wrestling Committee have taken measures to make wrestling more entertaining to encourage new fans into joining the wrestling family. They changed the scoring system so there would be more action and so casual fans could more easily understand what’s going on.
If wrestling was eliminated from the Olympics, the effect would trickle all of the way down to the recreational level. No longer is it even possible to have an Olympic dream, and NCAA title has to be good enough. That’s one difference in wrestling not many people may know. In NCAA wrestling and the wrestling kids do in school or recreation, it is known as the scholastic style of wrestling. The Olympics has both Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling. The Olympic styles award the wrestler with greater point values for better throws while scholastic is less high-risk with the same point values for a takedown, escape etc. This is different from the Olympic styles which use three judges to grade the points awarded to the wrestler. The final difference is in Greco-Roman you can’t use your legs or touch your opponents legs but you can in Freestyle. Now that this has been explained, if wrestling were to be eliminated from the Olympics not as many kids would move on to wrestle the different Olympic styles for the World Championships. As I mentioned earlier, this could lead to the unfortunate end of the world’s oldest sport.