The decision to drop wrestling from the Olympics has sparked outrage among the sport’s followers in the Lowcountry, from Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White on down.
“Wrestling is a sport that almost ever country does and you drop it,” White, a former state wrestling champion at James Island Charter High School, wrote on his Twitter account. “I’m (ticked). #saveolympicwrestling.”
The International Olympic Committee announced today that it would cut wrestling from the Summer Games starting in 2020. Wrestling is among the world’s oldest competitive sports and was part of the ancient Olympics in 708 B.C.. It also was one of the nine original sports when the modern Games began in 1896.
“I think it is ridiculous,” said Hanahan High School coach Ray Adkins. “Wrestling and track and field are the sports that started the Olympics. That would be like taking track and field or gymnastics away from the Olympics.
“That’s a wrestler’s dream: to wrestle in the Olympics. Their ultimate goal is to wrestle for their country. I just hope this wouldn’t be the end of wrestling in our country.”
Summerville coach Darryl Tucker thought the decision was a “joke” when he first heard it.
“It’s probably the worst decision they could make,” he said. “I’m hearing a lot of feedback from other coaches who want to fight this outrageous decision.”
Hanahan wrestler J.J. Johnson, a state champion who will wrestle in college at Missouri, said the decision will “hurt wrestling a little bit.”
“Why did they have to pick one of the oldest (Olympic) sports?” he said. “We just have to have that mentality to push ahead.”
Wrestling icons Dan Gable and Cael Sanderson, both U.S. Olympic champs, have vowed to fight for their sport.
Wrestling still has a chance to be included in the 2020 Games, but must now compete with seven other sports for inclusion. Those sports are baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu, a full contact form of martial arts. Appeals will be made in May and a final decision in September.