EDMOND, Okla. – Disappointing news to sports fans in Oklahoma.
Tuesday, leaders with the International Olympic Committee voted to drop wrestling from the Olympics starting in 2020.
Winning an Olympic medal is the pinnacle for any young wrestler.
That’s why the coach of Edmond North’s state champion team worries the IOC dropping wrestling from its core events will hurt the future of the sport.
“You take away the top thing kids can become and that makes it harder to promote our sport as coaches,” Edmond North head wrestling coach Andy Schneider said.
From Kenny Monday to Patrick Smith and John Smith, the names, faces and heritage of wrestling runs deep in Oklahoma.
Wrestling is also one of the oldest Olympic sports, included in the modern games since 1896.
To see that history end is unthinkable to many.
“The legacy and history in Oklahoma is just without equal, so it’s really disappointing they would even consider not having wrestling,” Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame President Eddie Griffin said.
“We have been a sport that’s been the stewards of the flame,” National Wrestling Hall of Fame Director Lee Roy Smith said.
On behalf of every young wrestler and aspiring Olympian, many involved in the sport will fight the IOC vote.
“The international wrestling community is going to unite and protest this decision,” said Smith.
The IOC will meet later this year for final vote on whether to drop wrestling, although the recommendation by the executive committee will be hard to overcome.