I have some bad news for all you fans of beefy men in tiny spandex outfits, gymnasiums that smell like must and victory, and wonderfully homoerotic photographs: wrestling may no longer be in the Olympics.
Apparently there are only 25 "core events" allowed in each games with an additional floating 26th slot and today the IOC voted on which of their extra sports should get the ax. According to ESPN, the International Olympics Comittee decided to drop wrestling starting in with the 2020 games (which have nothing to do with vision or Barbara Walters). The other events up for elimination – like this is some sick episode of Big Brother – were taekwondo, field hockey, and modern pentathlon. What the heck is a "modern pentathlon"? I have never seen this on my TV. What do their outfits look like? Are they skimpy enough to compete with wrestling?
Wrestling is not modern. It has been in the Olympics since 1896 and was around way before then when naked Grecos and Romans coated in oil would roll around in the soil fighting for olive wreathes and blocks of salt. That is what I call Olympic spirit.
So Wikipedia just told me that the Modern Pentathlon is pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, show jumping, and cross-country running. Who the hell wants to watch that? No one. Sure, some of the events are kind of sexy, but they don't even show fencing, show jumping, or pistol shooting in prime time, why would they want to show a combination all at once? That's like taking three naps at once. To make it even worse, it looks like a former IOC chairman's son is the Vice President of the International Modern Pentathlon Union. Something smells fishy, and it's not modern pentathletes after they finished the swimming portion of their event.
Now wrestling has to compete with a handful of other sports for the IOC's final 26th slot. Why are they doing this to wrestling? It has to campaign for itself like a crass actress trying to get herself an Oscar (we're looking at you Melissa Leo) or fight to the death like Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games (Oh, I would watch a Hunger Games Olympic event!). The other events it has to pin into submission to make it back into medal contention are baseball (and softball for ladies), karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding, and wushu. These would join the aforementioned "core 25" athletics: rowing, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, gymnastics, weightlifting, handball, hockey, judo, swimming, modern pentathlon, taekwondo, tennis, table tennis, shooting, archery, triathlon, sailing, and volleyball.
Come on, if we're choosing between roller blading (or roller derby) or another Eastern martial arts competion (that's wushu, which is not just a kind of pork) wrestling is the clear favorite! And one of those events isn't even a game, it's a root vegetable served in the fall. Wrestling is ancient. It's agressive. It makes for great pictures. It keeps all of our blond Mid-western men out of trouble when they could be off tipping cows or lighting corn fields on fire or something. Don't get rid of wrestling! Please.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Hollywood.com Illustration; Paul Sancya/AP Photo (2)]
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