News out this week that Wrestling will not be in the Olympics from 2020, it needs to be voted back in with a list of new Olympic sports that are bidding for a place, but this isn’t until September. Whilst I’m not a fan of wrestling and can’t claim to follow it, it is an Olympic tradition: one of the very few sports that have been around since the start of the modern Olympics in Athens 1896.
The IOC has said this is down to popularity, but I’m not sure if I truly believe this. My doubt is because the fiasco of tickets at last summer’s Olympics really showed that it was about sponsorship and money. I am a big sports fan and in particular gymnastics, I’ve been to European and World Championships at home and abroad and could I get a ticket to watch any at last summer’s games? No! Yet if you looked around the arena the lower tiers looked empty, why was this? Because those tickets were given to corporate sponsors who held the seats despite not wanting to watch any of the action. This creates a lack of atmosphere for anyone taking part and also made it look like the people of Great Britain didn’t give two hoots.
The Olympics should be the pinnacle of an athlete’s career, so why on earth is football and golf in there? Surely for a golfer winning the PGA World Tour is what they want to do (with all the additional money and sponsorship this brings). Footballers want to win the World Cup and have lifestyles that any other Olympian could only dream of. Here lies the point/ problem, by allowing these sports in, they think that it will create more sponsorship and attract a new audience, but it doesn’t. Again this was seen in London, the event in which people didn’t want tickets for was football. Why? It isn’t the pinnacle of a footballers career and quite frankly why would you want to watch some over paid man with a big ego roll around the pitch, when you can watch Kate Walsh get her jaw smashed with a hockey stick only to come back on and play for the bronze medal? That’s an athlete who represents their country and team with pride. Footballers take note!
The pinnacle of a Wrestler’s career is the Olympics, this is when they get the most media coverage and when an athlete can represent their country with full pride. The fact that this is a historic sport just adds more weight to its case that it should stay. I hope all members of the IOC panel vote in favour for this sport in September and no one is swayed by the promise of lucrative sponsorship deals.