The impressive and unified movement to save Olympic wrestling has succeeded, as the International Olympic Committee decided in Buenos Aries today that the historic sport will be part of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Wrestling reportedly received 49 out of 95 votes, while baseball / softball and squash received 24 and 22 votes respectively. As a result, baseball / softball and squash have lost their Olympic status.
So, this is huge news for the wrestling community as well as MMA, which worked together to keep the sport in the Olympics. As you likely noticed, not only have numerous fighters worn “Save Wrestling” shirts the last few months, and called for the sport to be saved, but various promotions like the UFC and Bellator also rallied behind the cause.
According to a report from MMA Junkie.com, FILA President Nenad Lalovic (of the international wrestling federation) was quoted saying about today’s news:
“Our fight doesn’t stop here,” Lalovic said after the IOC decision “We have to improve our sport in order to become a core sport. Wrestling has become a modernized sport ready to compete with other sports. We succeeded to (convince) the IOC members that our improved sport will support the Olympic movement.”
“Wrestling is not a new sport, but the wrestling we’re presenting now is a new wrestling. What we tried to do is update our sport to make it more spectacular, more watchable and the rules (more) understandable. That’s the only way to fulfill wrestling’s hopes – and that’s the goal of every sport.”
In February, the IOC announced that wrestling had been cut as a core sport, which prompted bewilderment and outrage throughout the sport and MMA as well. A campaign to save wrestling was fired up not long after and clearly it worked. As Lalovic noted, however, the goal now is to get wrestling core sport status once again.
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