VINSON: Olympic wrestling's not over

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By Mike Vinson

  A good all-around definition for "wrestling" could be: a combat sport pitting two men (women, also) against each other in an enclosed area involving grappling-type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws, takedowns, pindowns, etc., with one of the two men eventually declared the victor.

  Regarding the human race, I think a plausible assumption among historians is the sport of wrestling dates back to the very origin of mankind, and by that, I mean mankind at his most primal level: A man getting another man in  chokehold and forcing him to give up his food. A man pinning another man to the ground and telling him to stay off his turf (cave), or else there would be consequences.

  Years back, growing up in the country, we had wrestling matches all the time. Not only was wrestling part of out Physical Education class, we also wrestled away from school, at home, and, also, when we, as youngsters, would spend the night with each other.

  Still-and some might find this "inappropriate"-the girls sometimes would wrestle with us boys, and sometimes the girls won! And it was none of this dangerous, climb on top of a building and dive headfirst into someone stuff; rather, it was a plain ol' fun, face-to-face match-up. Think more Ellie Mae Clampett versus Jethro Bodine than WWE RAW.

  Not only did parents not go running to lawyers to file a civil suits about their children wrestling, the parents sometimes joined in, or served as referees, at least.

  Wresting was first featured as a competitive event at the 1904 Olympics, held in St. Louis, Missouri. Further, the sport of wrestling (Greco-Roman and Freestyle) has been a mainstay event of the Olympics ever since 1904. (NOTE: Some argue that wrestling was an event at the 1896 Olympics, held in Athens, Greece.)

  However, just recently, the International Olympic Committee/IOC announced it will be dropping wrestling from Olympic competition as of 2020. "The IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon . . . and remove wrestling instead from its list of 25 'core sports.'"

  Expectedly, there has been tremendous outcry from the collective wrestling community regarding the IOC's decision to remove wrestling as an event as of the 2020 Olympics.

  Further, by all accounts, it appears that golf and rugby will be included as feature events as of the 2016 Olympics.

  Many are of the opinion that wrestling is being pushed to the side, solely, for the purpose of making way for golf. Regardless one's preference, it's hard to deny that golf continues to grow more popular with each tick of the clock.

  I've heard a number of parents comment that they are pushing their children away from combative sports, such as wrestling and football, and toward less-combative sports, such as golf.

  Also, if, indeed, the IOC is taking away wrestling for golf, one must look at the MONEY factor: What are the number of die-hard wrestling fans compared to the number of die-hard golfing fans?  How many people will tune in to watch a golf match compared to a wrestling match? How much golf memorabilia will sell compared to wrestling memorabilia . . . at the Olympics and away from the Olympics?

  Though I respect and appreciate the sport of golf, I do think that taking away wrestling from the Olympics will dilute the history-and reality-of the human race. I mean, our ancestors wrestled for food and shelter!

  The FILA, an international body that governs wrestling, released this statement:

  "FILA will take all necessary measures to convince the IOC Executive Board and IOC members of the aberration of such decision against one of the founding sports of the ancient and modern Olympic Games. . . ."

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