Wednesday, February 13, 2013

IOCís secret pin


Dropping wrestling from the Summer Olympics is like dropping apples from pie in America. Yet, the International Olympic Committee did it anyway.

Just like that, with a secret ballot, it pinned one of the sports that was part of the original Greek Olympic Games that began 2,700 years ago.

It apparently didn’t matter to the IOC that unlike archery, sailing, tennis, kayaking, equestrian events and golf, wrestling requires only some decent shoes and some relatively inexpensive equipment to participate. 

It also didn’t matter that as symbols of the Summer Olympics, badminton, fencing, table tennis and golf don’t have the same cachet as the hand-to-hand combat of wrestling. With the secret ballot, there’s no one to complain to, no way to know whom to lobby. There’s just a faceless international committee to blame.

The IOC says it cut wrestling to add a new sport to its list of 25 “core sports” later this year. To replace wrestling, the IOC will choose from combined baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu—a Chinese martial art developed after 1949.

In reaching the decision, the IOC said it considered television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity. Really? Then someone on the IOC needs to explain how modern pentathlon survived the cut and tell us with a straight face that “pentathlon” is a household word.

If the IOC is cleaning house, it should clean it thoroughly and admit that TV ratings and the money generated by the “amateur” athletes—not the pure spirit of sport itself—drive the Olympics today.




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