Last week the Olympics announced that they will drop wrestling from the games starting in 2020. Now I’m about as far from a wrestling fan as you can get (although I did write about it a long time ago when the guy with one leg won the NCAA championship), but I still think this is a very bad idea for one basic reason: If you are a wrestler, the greatest possible achievement there is in your sport is to win the Olympic gold medal. That is what the Olympics are made for; showcasing athletes and sports that aren’t widely seen otherwise.
Andy Murray won the tennis gold medal this past summer, but at the time he had yet to win one of the four major Grand Slam tournaments. His U.S. Open victory later in the year is considered to be the bigger accomplishment. The same argument can be made for golf (also 4 majors), soccer (the World Cup), and probably basketball. My guess is most pros would prefer winning an NBA title to an Olympic gold, especially Americans.
Which leads to the second part of this argument, that there’s not really any money to be made wrestling. Isn’t that also what the Olympics are supposed to be about? If you can earn tons of fame and fortune playing your sport on some other grand stage, you don’t need the Olympics. Wrestlers need the Olympics (just like group rhythmic gymnasts do).
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