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:
Sky Sports presenters are like children on Christmas morning. If they get any more excited it’s possible they would actually burst. Not sure if there is actually any recorded cases of over excitement leading to bursting but we could be about to have one. The prospect of Manchester City loaning an 18 year youth player to Oldham or Stoke City signing a fourth choice goalkeeper is all to much for them. Love it or hate the Transfer Deadline Day does make for good and at times desperate television.
Around the grounds we go. Hour after hour of freezing cold reporters surrounded by local urchins hoping to catch a glimpse of their new signing. Scratch that. Hoping to get themselves on television. The sad reality of this twice yearly charade tends to be a lot of uninteresting moves by players most clubs are glad to get rid of. As ever the only club really spending money and attempting to grab headlines, as well as players, is the one managed by Harry Redknapp. The media friendly old rogue is currently employed by Queens Park Rangers where their owner can expect his wallet to be considerably lighter by the time ‘Arry has finished with it.
Up here in Scotland Deadline Day passes without much frenzy. With Rangers not only currently languishing in Division Three but also the subject of a transfer embargo, only their rivals Celtic are of any interest to the media. Even that interest is not what it was witnessed by the lack of people hanging around outside Celtic Park. All quiet on the eastern front. East End of Glasgow that is.
In the old days there was no transfer window. Teams could sign players as and when they liked. Not totally clear why they still can’t. Think I preferred it that way. Sky Sports and the assembled throng of the UK media clearly prefer the monster they have created in Deadline Day. It has is moments but not enough to justify the hype.
Ok, ok. Apologies for the corny title but the fact is it sums things up nicely. The Serb won his fourth Australian Open this morning with a four set win over our very own Andy Murray (ps for those new to my blog I am Scottish as is Mr Murray !). This made is seven grand slam titles for the 25 year old from Belgrade, three in a row in Melbourne. Novak clearly enjoys the Australian courts and surroundings. I’m sure this year he will be out to further establish his position at the top of the men’s game by winning one of the non-Oz majors over the coming months.
Time Out – “Major”or “Grand Slam”. Some say one some say the other. Now seems in vogue to call what used to always be referred to as Slams as Majors. The GS term is now kept on ice by many to describe the feat of winning all four majors in one season. End of time out.
As for Andy. Have to say another fantastic achievement to reach the final of a major.Yes, he’s lost all but one, although each defeat has been to either Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic. For Andy to have actually managed to win one of his finals was a monumental achievement no matter what else he does in his career. In such an incredibly tough era for men’s tennis to have won 25 titles including 8 Masters 1000, Olympic Gold plus of course his major at Flushing Meadows is a truly superb feat by the Brit. He has nothing to redress himself for after today’s defeat.
Last word for Novak. Have to say if Andy wasn’t around the Serb would probably be my favourite player. Fantastic athlete, tremendous sport and above all a sublime tennis player. Well done Nole. A true champion.