Members of the International Olympic Committee have voted to dropping wrestling from the 2020 Summer Olympics Games. The proposal came as a surprise, as wrestling is one of the oldest Olympic sports.
The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) executive board voted on Tuesday to remove wrestling from the 2020 Summer Olympics Games, however the move is not yet final.
The board recommended dropping wrestling as it was not a part of the 25 "core sports" list. The IOC is seeking to drop one sport in order to make way for a new event in the hopes of “renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.
However, the vote came to many as a surprise since wrestling has been an Olympic sport since the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896. Other sports, including modern pentathlon and taekwondo were saved.
“This is not the end of the process, this is purely a recommendation,” IOC Adams told reporters at a meeting of the IOC's executive board in Lausanne.
“It was a decision to look at the core sports, what works best for the Olympic Games. This was the best program for the 2020 Olympics. This is not about what's wrong with wrestling but what is good for the Games,” he added.
The voting was carried out by secret ballot and the figures were not disclosed. The final IOC commission report handed to board members prior to the vote, analyzed more than three dozen criteria in the various sports under consideration, including television ratings, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity.
At last years' London Olympics, wrestling featured 344 athletes competing in 11 medal events. Women's wrestling was added to the Olympics at the 2004 Athens Games.
Wrestling will now join seven other sports in applying for inclusion for the 2020 games. The eight sports are scheduled to make presentations to the executive board at a meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia in May.
A final decision is to be made in September when the committee is also to choose the location for the 2020 Summer Olympics. The three candidates are Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid.
The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are to include rugby and golf for the first time.
hc/pfd (Reuters, AP)