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February 12, 2013 / Tom Liberman

Goodbye Wrestling

Olympic WrestlingThere was an interesting decision by the International Olympic Committee this past week although I doubt many of my readers will be as fascinated with it as am I.

The IOC decides what sports will be in the Olympics each year and decided for the 2020 Olympics that wrestling will not be included. As I suggested, it’s probably not that big an injustice from most people’s perspective but I think it further evidence of the utter dismantling of the very spirit of the Olympics. I wrote a blog post on the subject here but let me recap quickly both this decision and my problems with the IOC.

The modern Olympics were originally created as a place to showcase sportsmanship and bring nations together. This is a different although somewhat related agenda to the ancient Olympics held in Greece. If you want a full explanation of my thoughts on this please see linked post.

Wrestling has been part of the modern Olympics since their institution in 1896 and was also part of the ancient Greek Olympics. It is, in my opinion, one of the most pure sports of all. Simply one person in the ring battling against another judged by a set of stringent rules. The best wrestler that day wins. If you get a chance to watch NCAA wrestling, which they show on ESPN3, I would encourage you to watch. It is true sport in its most pure form.

The criteria the Olympic committee considers when choosing what sport to include in the Olympics are as follows: The IOC program commission report analyzed more than three dozen criteria, including television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity.

My read between the lines analysis is that they thought another sport would generate more revenue than wrestling. That’s certainly their decision to make but it further confirms my opinion that the Olympics are no longer about sport but about making money. That’s exactly the idea they were founded to combat. The idea was that there would be a place for sportsmanship, where the attempt to win was far more important than the winning itself. That spirit is gone, dead. I think we are all the worse for it. I think an athlete that strives to be the best but loses is just as much a winner as the athlete or team that wins.

Is the U.S. Postal team and Lance Armstrong the real winner or the real loser? Is Barry Bonds a winner or a loser? This win at all costs mentality is destroying the United States of America. The ends do not justify the means. When we elevate winning above trying our honest best we create a culture of criminality where people will do anything to win. The people who will do anything to win generally defeat the honorable. This attitude carries over into politics, into business, into the very fabric of our society, we the people.

I realize I’m drifting rather far afield from the loss of wrestling as an Olympic sport but, by golly, this one makes me sad. Wrestling not an Olympic sport? Next you’ll tell me that warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream isn’t a dessert.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
Current Release: The Sword of Water
Next Release: The Spear of the Hunt

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