This week, the International Olympic Committee decided to remove wrestling from the 2020 Summer Games. This surprise decision has rightly received a great deal of criticism in the days following the announcement. This is a real sport, with real athletes, and it’s been a part of the Olympics pretty much since guys with togas came up with the thing. Sure, the sport has become a victim of athletic department budget cuts at American universities, but the sport still has many supporters here as well as in Asia and Eastern Europe.
All of those are good reasons the sport should have survived in the Olympics, but there is an even better reason:
Have you seen the “sports” that are in the Olympics lately?
While technically physical activities, most Olympic Events are the dumbest combinations of movements and rules the world has ever thrown together. Just by making some sense and being difficult, wrestling is way better than most of the events that didn’t get cut.
So, if the IOC needs to drop an event, I’ll give them a hand. Here are a few of the many that they should drop (or should not be considering) to replace wrestling.
Karate (potential addition), Judo, Wushu (potential addition), Taekwondo – I like combat sports as much as the next guy, but how many different styles of kicking a guy in the face do we need? Can’t we just make it MMA and call it a day?
While I’m at it, they should throw boxing into my new MMA event. Olympic boxing brings about as much interest to the sport as Mike Tyson’s cameo in Hangover 2. In Olympic boxing, the fighters wear protective headgear, and they get time to recover after a big hit. So, big hits and knockouts – the things causal fans actually care about – are not a part of Olympic boxing. It’s like a sword fight without swords. What’s the point? Oh, and while I’m on the subject…
Fencing – There was a time when fencing was a really cool and useful skill. Then, the Chinese figured out gunpowder and it sort of became stupid. Also – not that I’m a proponent of people needlessly injuring themselves for sport, but – since the whole point of sword fighting is to stab other people, it would be much more exciting if there was a chance someone could lose a limb. If they ditch the padding it can stay, if not, fencing has to go.
Race Walking – Do I really need to explain this one?
Team Handball – Yes, this sport looks awesome to play, but it also looks more like something I invented with my friends in our freshman dorm than something that can earn me a gold medal. Cool game, but just not a sport.
Modern Pentathlon – This is truly the most ludicrous event in the Games. Participants shoot guns, swim, sword fight, ride a horse, and then run. Somehow, all of these things are added up and someone becomes a winner. Makes sense, right? And did you notice that all of those things are already Olympic Events? This is basically an event for people that weren’t good enough to make the Games in a single event, but are kind of good at a few of them. Keep in mind, three of the five aren’t even popular sports on their own, so put together, they must be pure joy to behold. This “sport” is stupid and pointless, let’s put it out of its misery.
I could go on for hours, but you get the point. The Olympics are overwhelmed with pointless, unpopular events, and wrestling is far from the worst offender. The IOC should probably change their decision and go back to focusing their attention on important things, like how they are going to get viewers back now that they’ve eliminated the bikinis from beach volleyball.
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