'Dreams of Local Wrestlers Destroyed' in St. Michael by Olympic Announcement
The International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday it will cut wrestling from the Olympic games, beginning in 2020.
A strong tradition in the St. Michael-Albertville community was wrestled down Tuesday, when the International Olympic Committee announced it will cut wrestling from the Olympic games, beginning in 2020.
"I am sad that so many goals and dreams of local wrestlers have been destroyed by this decision," said Tony Mallinger, St. Michael-Albertville High School ninth-grade wrestling coach and varsity assistant coach. "The pinnacle of this sport is to win an Olympic gold medal and now that has been taken away. We have a few wrestlers that are talented enough to pursue this dream, and now that is gone."
One STMA alum who made it to the Olympic Wrestling team is Chas Betts. He was shocked by the news, sad, and heartbroken, he told Patch.
"This sport molded me," Betts said. "It taught me how to live and what it meant to work hard and see results of your hard work. I feel deep sadness for any wrestler who had Olympic hopes and aspirations."
He hopes something with be done to remedy the loss, he said.
Olympic wrestling still has a chance to survive. Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday that the wrestling governing body, International Amateur Wrestling Federation (FILA) plans an emergency campaign to be chosen again in September to participate in the Olympics. That's when it will be one of seven sports bidding for a spot in the 2020 Olympics — for the vacancy it left after being cut.
The decision to cut wrestling was announced by the committee in Switzerland. The Telegraph in London reports the reasons behind the decision included "a perceived lack of television appeal and the failure of the sport’s governing body to recognise it was under threat." USA Today cites reasons such as low global participation and declining popularity.
An STMA community member wrote on St. Michael Patch's Facebook page that it's a "sad day when the Olympic committee is concerned with making TV money versus keeping the integrity of the Olympic games. There must be Roman Goths spinning in their graves."
Wrestling first appeared in the ancient Olympics in 708 B.C. In 2012, 71 countries were represented at wrestling games across the freestyle and Greco-Roman disciplines, reported The Telegraph.
According to USA Today, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said, "This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics. In the view of the executive board, this was the best program for the Olympic Games in 2020. It's not a case of what's wrong with wrestling, it is what's right with the 25 core sports."
Another STMA community member thinks "that a lot of kids dreams were just crushed," she wrote on Facebook.
STMA High School Activities Director Brian Benson noted that wrestling is a tradition both at the high school and in the STMA community and surrounding area.
"There will be much conversation about the Olympic Committee decision," he wrote in an email to Patch. "I believe that regardless of this decision, we will continue to have a strong program and a community passionate about high school wrestling."