By Jonathan Persson | firstname.lastname@example.org
It is the beginning of a new area.
In 2020, the sport of wrestling will no longer be part of the Olympics. A decision made by the International Olympic Committee, they state that there is nothing wrong with the sport of wrestling. It is just a matter of providing events that maintain the same qualifications as the other 25 events in the Olympics. What does this mean for the future of the sport and its athletes?
“It hurts moral, for any sport that does not have a high paying professional career, college is usually the epitome. Then the Olympics in the next level, and they usually only have one or maybe two shots,” said Speed and Strength Coach, Tom Palumbo of Flagler College.
Sports that do not have professional careers, such as wrestling, vary because the athletes do not have the luxury of training for a couple years before transitioning on a professional team within a league for a ten year career.
“You train so much more than you compete in wrestling. You train for four years just for a weeks’ worth of events and that is it. So when that ultimate prize is taken away, morale is killed,” Palumbo said.
As a result the International Olympic ommittee’s decision will have major implications on the athletes.
“When I was growing up, I remember looking up to Kurt Angle, a men’s freestyle wrestling Olympic gold medalist,” said Nik Mandella, a former East Kentwood High School wrestler.
Mandella, grew up in Grand Rapids, Mich., and wrestled his whole life. He took pride in the fact that if you were good enough, you could earn a spot to compete against the best wrestlers in the world. That spot was in the Olympics.
Being able to look up to athletes who competed and won in the Olympics is a huge motivational tool. Now that wrestling has been taken out of the Olympics, athletes must now search for something else to motivate them.
“I believe we will start to see a dissipation in the sport of wrestling,” said Coach Palumbo.
Many student atheltes who partake in wrestling also partake in other sports. With the goal of the Olympics taken away, these young athletes could shift to their secondary sport to achieve national fame and recognition.
“Strong will, never giving in, mental toughness, and commitment are synonymous with the sport of wrestling. I would not be surprised if the IOC [International Olympic Committee] changes their mind and reinstates the Olympics,” Mandella said.
Wrestling is one of the original sports of the Olympics, and it is encompassed with a rich historical emphasis. Now, with these new changes it is up to the sport and its athletes to forge on and create a new identity for wrestling.