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VINSON: Human wrestling match not quite over yet

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A good definition for wrestling could be: a combat sport pitting two people against each other in an enclosed area involving grappling-type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws, takedowns and pindowns with one of the two eventually declared the victor.

Regarding the human race, I think a plausible assumption among historians is the sport of wrestling dates back to the very origin of mankind.

By that I mean mankind at his most primal level – a man getting another man in a chokehold and forcing him to give up his food or pinning him to the ground and telling him to stay off his turf.

Growing up in the country, we had wrestling matches all the time.

Not only was wrestling part of our physical education class, we also wrestled away from school, at home and when we, as youngsters, would spend the night with each other.

Still, and some might find this inappropriate, the girls sometimes would wrestle with us boys, and sometimes the girls won.

And it was none of this dangerous, climb on top of a building and dive headfirst into someone stuff; rather, it was a plain old fun in a face-to-face match-up.

Think more Ellie Mae Clampett versus Jethro Bodine than WWE “Monday Night Raw.”

Not only did parents not go running to lawyers to file a civil suits about their children wrestling, they sometimes joined in, or at least served as referees.

Wrestling was first featured as a competitive event at the 1904 Olympic Games, held in St. Louis, Mo., and it has been a mainstay event ever since.

Some even believe that wrestling was an event at the 1896 Olympics, held in Athens, Greece.

However, just recently, the International Olympic Committee announced it will be dropping wrestling from competition lineup as of 2020.

The executive board decided to retain the modern pentathlon, and instead, remove wrestling from its list of 25 core sports.

Expectedly, there has been tremendous outcry from the collective wrestling community regarding the IOC’s decision.

By all accounts, it appears that golf and rugby will be included as feature events beginning with the 2016 Olympics.

Many are of the opinion that wrestling is being pushed to the side, solely, for the purpose of making way for golf.

Regardless of one’s preference, it is hard to deny golf continues to grow more popular with each tick of the clock.

I’ve heard a number of parents comment they are pushing their children away from combative sports, such as wrestling and football, and toward less-combative sports like golf.

Also, if, indeed, the IOC is taking away wrestling for golf, one must look at the money factor.

What are the number of die-hard wrestling fans compared to the number of golfing fans? How many people will tune in to watch a golf match compared to a wrestling match? How much golf memorabilia will sell compared to wrestling memorabilia at the Olympics and afterward?

Though I respect and appreciate the sport of golf, I do think that taking away wrestling from the Olympics will dilute the history – and reality – of the human race.

Our ancestors wrestled for food and shelter.

The FILA, an international body that governs wrestling, released this statement to the Associated Press:

“FILA will take all necessary measures to convince the IOC executive board and IOC members of the aberration of such decision against one of the founding sports of the ancient and modern Olympic Games.”    

To pun a bit, this is one wrestling match that’s not over yet.
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Mike Vinson, Olympics, Sports, Wrestling
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Members Opinions:
February 18, 2013 at 12:28pm
I agree with the auhtor absolutely! Wrestling defines man at his very 'origin'. When it comes to the IOC and the 25 'Core' events of the olympics, I don't think you can get any more core than wrestling.
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