(LAUSANNE, Switzerland) — The International Olympic Committee announced on Tuesday that it would be dropping freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, beginning with the 2020 Summer Games.
The reason for the decision was not made clear by the IOC, whose 15-member executive board ousted wrestling from Olympic competition via secret ballot.
However, there is plenty of speculation regarding what was behind the controversial decision to exclude one of the most traditional Olympic sports.
For some time, the IOC has talked of reducing the size of the Summer Games as well as making it appear more relevant to a younger audience. Olympic-style wrestling is not a well-publicized sport in the U.S., which is dwarfed by the more entertainment-driven professional wrestling.
Mike Moyer, executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association, says the move will hurt Team USA. Moyer says wrestling has been one of the top medal count sports for the U.S. over the past several Olympics, and the IOC decision will definitely cost America some medals.
There is the possibility that the IOC could reinstate wrestling when it votes in May to add another athletic event, but the chances of that are one in seven. Seven other sports — including baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu — are up for the slot.
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