John Curtis: Take out table tennis from Olympics before wrestling
My first thoughts of wrestling being eliminated from the Olympics was the same as many others in the sport world: "What?"
Maybe they found the chain Kurt Angle used to beat his Iranian opponent to earn the Gold Medal in the 1996 games; or they found out the old Soviet Union professional wrestler Nikita Koloff wasn't a Russian, but an American.
Obviously those things didn't happen — although Nikita Koloff is originally from Minnesota — or are really any kind of real factor in wrestling; but it's just as silly for the International Olympics Committee's executive board to drop the sport in 2020 that has signified the spirit of the event.
How do you take a sport that is as old as the Greek Olympic games and say it's not welcome as one of 25 events? For me, an Olympic event involves the drive to push a person's body to the ultimate limit; for many sports, the Olympics is the Super Bowl, World Series and Daytona 500 in one.
That makes a sport like wrestling more important for the Olympics to promote more than basketball and soccer.
How important has wrestling been as an Olympic event? In the 1960 Rome Games, they actually had the event in the ruins of an amphitheater to tie into the Olympiads of old.
So to say it should be gone instead of events like table tennis, badminton or any of the equestrian events just boggles my mind. Look at the end of a wrestling match and see how much effort one has put in one and the other.
Unless you really believe the ping pong movie "Balls Of Fury," then I think you would agree that there is just a "tiny" more amount of effort put into wrestling than table tennis.
And for those of you who may remember in London last year, three teams were disqualified from the badminton competition because they were trying to lose so they could have a more favorable position in the bracket round.
Some go so far as to say rhythmic gymnastics should be taken out; but there is skill in those events for everyone to be on time and sequenced with their moves, so I would keep that event in.
There are two facets that make this "farce," to use a European-normal word, laughable.
One is that the Olympics committee is thinking the world is trying to be a "gentler, kinder" Earth, so they need to take out as many events that would be considered "barbaric". Nothing against those in boxing, but if that were the thoughts of those voting, then boxing or taekwondo should have been eliminated before wrestling.
The other is one that has the wrestling world not only upset about their sport being taken out of the Olympics, but a lack of vision by president Raphael Martinetti of the international wrestling federation (FILA), who has lacked making changes before the voting.
Many international wrestling organizations and Olympic bodies around the world have complained about the possible elimination. Think of it this way, how many times do you have the United States, Russia and Iran on the same side.
IOC president Jacques Rogge said he and Martinelli will meet to discuss way the sport can save its place in the Olympics. The move must still be ratified by the complete IOC in September, so the sport has seven months to change the outcome or receive the death knell.
If the sport doesn't succeed in the changing of minds, then many young wrestlers across this nation who have looked to represent the "Red, White and Blue" in an Olympiad will find themselves just blue with the doors of their hopes locked with them on the outside in the cold.
John Curtis writes for Dodge City, Kan.