wrestler

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Growing up wrestling was a huge part of my life. I was not very good, and i didn’t compete after the age of 15, but as a young athlete wrestling instilled an unrivaled work ethic . Wrestling is about sacrifice  effort, and determination. The grueling practices and nagging injuries are rewarded with starvation and dehydration just to qualify for competition. The sport ensures both the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.

Since 1896, men have competed at the highest level in wrestling. Not as paid athletes, only professorial wrestlers get paid, and they are compensated for scripted entertainment, not for competition. The Olympics is the top of the pyramid for a wrestlers ambition. Rulon Gardner, Jeff Blatnick, Dan Gable, Alexander Medved, Alexander Karelin, and numerous others became national heroes under the Olympic umbrella. However, after 2016 there will be no more wrestling of any kind at the Olympic games.

A recent secret ballot, eliminated wrestling (both Freestyle and Greco-Roman) from the “core group” of sports, in order to make room for Rugby and Golf. The elimination of wrestling was favored over the less popular modern pentathlon, which I challenge any reader to name the categories without first looking them up!

So what does this mean for the sport as a whole? Will this deter wrestlers from pursing the sport, since the ceiling for the sport has been lowered significantly? What will the consequences of this horrible decision be?

My thought:

Wrestlers are the way they are, because competitive drive is rooted in their very marrow. In school, wrestling offered little reward for a lot of sacrifice.  However they still work just as hard, in front of empty bleachers, with no fan fare, or headlines. Scholarships now will probably decrease, since the Olympic elimination, but I am willing to bet the wrestling rooms will be just as full. With MMA on the rise, wrestlers have options. And the work ethic they learn slamming 90 lbs dummies, is perfectly suited for the discipline needed in that sport. Wrestlers no longer need the Olympics, however I am pretty sure the backlash that results from this decision will prove to the IOC, that the Olympics are the one who need wrestling. Addition by subtraction is not always addition. Especially not with a hundred years of tradition in the rear view mirror!

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