IOC to drop wrestling as Olympic sport


Photo: Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Daily

Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner is honored by the revelation of the new banner for his victory hanging from the rafters of Hilton Coliseum on Sunday, Feb. 3.

Jake Calhoun

In surprise turn of events, the International Olympic Committee has opted to drop the sport of wrestling, a move that will take effect for the 2020 Olympic games.

“This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams to USA Today. “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.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) opted to drop wrestling instead of the pentathlon based on global participation and popularity, according to USA Today.

“It’s one of the greatest injustices ever perpetrated by the Olympic committee,” said Bobby Douglas, who coached at Iowa State from 1992 to 2006. “It’s all driven by money, greed and corruption.”

A vote will be cast among the IOC in May regarding whether wrestling should be dropped with a final decision to be announced in September.

Iowa State has a strong tie to Olympic wrestling, having produced six Olympic gold medalists including two-time NCAA champion Dan Gable (1972), current ISU coach Kevin Jackson (1992), four-time NCAA champion Cael Sanderson (2004) and two-time NCAA champion Jake Varner (2012).

The United States has also proven to be the most successful country in the sport of wrestling, winning 124 medals overall.

“I’m outraged by the International Olympic Committee’s arbitrary decision to drop wrestling from the Olympic Games,” said U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, in a statement. “Wrestling is one of the oldest Olympic sports, dating to the games of the ancient Greeks. Iowans are proud of our state’s long tradition of wrestling excellence — from Frank Gotch to Dan Gable to Cael Sanderson — and the IOC’s decision deals a major blow to the sport itself.”

Wrestling was one of the founding sports of the ancient Olympic games, dating back to 708 BC. When the modern era of the Olympic games began in 1896, wrestling was one of nine sports on the bill.

Neither Gable nor Sanderson have returned the Daily’s requests for comment at this time.

Check back to as this story develops.