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Rejoice! Olympic wrestling will live on in the 2020 summer games!

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Author: Aaron Steed

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Tags: 2020, Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles, International Olympic Committee, IOC, Meathead Wrestling CLub, Olympics, Tokyo, Wrestling

We believe a little celebration is in order.

International Olympic Committee LogoThe Original Olympic Sport—wrestling—survived being cut from the official Olympic program this week. Why it was ever even considered for exclusion, we can't begin to imagine. But nonetheless, in a sudden death vote before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, wrestling prevailed over baseball/softball and squash to make it to the 2020 Summer Olympics, announced earlier last week as taking place in Tokyo.

Though it was a bit gut-wrenching for a while there, in the end the vote wasn't even close. On Sept. 9, at the 125th session of the IOC, the 95 voting members of the Olympic Programme Commission overwhelmingly selected wrestling over the other three sports. The vote went down like this: Wrestling-49 votes, baseball/softball-24, and squash-22.

According to an Olympic.org press release, the vote followed lengthy presentations by the Federation of Associated Wresting Styles, the International Federations of of Baseball/Softball and Squash, all short-listed in May.

“I would like to offer my congratulations to the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles,” IOC President Jacques Rogge said in the release. “Wrestling has shown great passion and resilience in the last few months. They have taken a number of steps to modernize and improve their sport, including the addition of more women and athletes in the decision-making positions; rule changes to make the sport more exciting and easy to understand; and an increase in the number of women’s competitions. We are pleased with their reaction and happy to have wrestling on the Olympic program in 2020 and 2024.”

The whole kerfuffle began earlier this year when the IOC announced they would be eliminating a certain number of sports from the program in order to “control the size, cost, and complexity” of the Games. The program was capped in 2002 at 28 sports, approximately 300 events, and a loose target of 10,500 athletes. At the time, they also decided to conduct a review at the conclusion of every edition of the Games to “provide regular rejuvenation of the Games while maintaining continuity and consistency.”

Varner Yelling

The concept of a “core group” of 25 sports with a maximum of three additional sports was adopted in 2007. In 2009, the IOC added golf and rugby to the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.

But why wrestling, which dates back to the ancient origins of the Olympics, was even added to the shortlist we still don’t understand. Apparently we weren’t the only ones. A grassroots backlash caught the attention of the legislature—including our very own State Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian—and culminated in an official resolution supporting the sport on the Olympic program.

If you follow this thread, you know the place the sport of wrestling has in the hearts of Meathead Movers. To say that founders Aaron and Evan Steed have been strong supporters since their competitive days in school would be the understatement of the century. The sport has changed the lives of many of our employees, as well as shaping the lives of millions of men and women around the world into hard-working, confident, and responsible individuals.

The thought of it being lost on the international stage was something we couldn’t sit back in the stands and watch.

So we had to get involved. And we did. And so did many of you. So, we would like to take a moment to show our sincere gratitude to those who stood by us, wrote their local representatives, and filled the Facebook pages and Twitter feeds in keeping the movement alive.

Thank you. Now, on to Tokyo!

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