Ok. I’ll be honest. I don’t like Olympic wrestling. I used to enjoy watching the exploits of WWE superstars such as The Rock and The Undertaker but amateur wrestling has always left me confused. Nothing much seems to be happening and then it’s all over. The bottom line is like many people I don’t appreciate the subtleties or indeed the rules. Makes it all seem a confusing bunch of nothing. However, to those who love the sport as either competitors or spectators it is clearly far from nothing.
Hence the expected uproar when it was announced that wrestling was to be dropped as an Olympic sport from 2020. Whether you actually like wrestling or not doesn’t seem to me to be the point. At times you should stick with tradition. In Olympic terms there isn’t a sport as traditional as wrestling. Wrestling, which combines freestyle and Greco-Roman events, was included in the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896. It has been in every Games since, apart from Paris in 1900. For me it is an almost uniquely Olympic event. One of those things that people often only watch once every four years.
Perhaps wrestling just isn’t sexy enough. Perhaps it doesn’t sell enough advertising space. What it does do though is retain the real spirit of the Olympic movement. It is the sort of sport which you could actually imagine taking place in ancient Greece and the Roman empire. It is a sport which has transcended generations and one which embodies what Olympic competition is all about. Reading various comment pieces on the web one sentiment is commonly voiced. The best quote I could find to sum up the general feeling comes from a wrestling coach in the USA:
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
Any wrestler, former or current, lives by this creed. Wrestling teaches the participants there is nothing greater than the battle itself. Wrestling is as much a battle of one’s own mind and thoughts, as it is a battle against your opponent.”
Whether you like the sport or not. To me it doesn’t matter. Sometimes things should just be left as they are. To help save Olympic wrestling please visit, read and if you feel so inclined then sign the following petition: