The Takedown: No Olympics wrestling?

The Takedown: No Olympics wrestling?

February 13th, 2013 by Ward Gossett in Sports - Preps

What?

The International Olympic Committee said Tuesday it plans to drop wrestling from the Olympics beginning with the 2020 games.

The world's oldest continuing sport, perhaps along with horse racing and running, is being erased.

"It's a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. "In the view of the executive board, this was the best program for the Olympic Games in 2020. It's not a case of what's wrong with wrestling; it is what's right with 25 core sports."

In making the decision, the board considered a report that included TV ratings, ticket sales, global participation and popularity. In other words, how much money does the sport generate for IOC coffers and are those who are going to complain the loudest in position to do the IOC serious damage? Other than the U.S. and possibly the states that were members of the former Soviet Socialist Republics, there may be none.

There remains an outside shot that wrestling could be part of the 2020 program, but it will have to compete with seven other sports the IOC will consider in May, including baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sports climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu.

Wushu?

I looked it up. For those of us who aren't up on such international events, wushu is, in basic terms, martial arts, specifically derived from traditional Chinese martial arts.

And it's a candidate to replace to replace a time-honored and centuries-old test of athleticism?

Roller sports? I wonder if they'll make the guys wear hair nets as a safety precaution. That's about as much of a sport as walking, and I'm not talking about walking when you've had one too many.

And wakeboarding? Who would get the gold? The boat manufacturer, the board manufacturer, the boat driver or the actual wakeboarder? TV friendly and out of the way at the same time? Maybe they can have a swimsuit competition at the same time.

So where are the dart-throwers, the auto-racing enthusiasts? Wouldn't their "sports" be just as likely replacements on the IOC's agenda?

The last sports removed from the Olympics were baseball and softball, each with a strong U.S. tradition, and they have excluded from the program since the 2008 games in Bejing.

Of course, golf and rugby will be joining the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. Rugby, I don't necessarily understand, but there is enough contact and scrums, I think they're called, to resemble American football.

Yet aren't you on pins and needles anticipating Tiger's debate on laying up or actually going for the gold? Somehow an Olympic gold just doesn't seem to stack up in those circles to a Masters green jacket.

Parkers bound for fame

The Parkers are going into the TSSAA's hall of fame.

It's no surprise.

Mike, a former state championship coach at East Ridge who later became an outstanding official, has worked tirelessly to promote the sport of wrestling. He and his wife Karen, the feisty redhead you'll see working at the head table at both the traditional and dual state tournaments, have spent untold hours to strengthen the sport.

While it's likely that Soddy-Daisy coach Jim Higgins stamped his career by doing the right thing at the state duals -- sending three key members of his team home a couple of weeks ago -- the Trojans rookie wasn't the first.

Years ago at what was then the only state tournament -- and it was an annual battle of proportional dimensions -- Mike sent a probable if not likely state champ home after the tournament had started. And while it might have been an unpopular decision in some circles, it was a decision that defined Parker as a man of character who truly saw sports as an opportunity to help mold young men into appropriate members of society.

While hall of fame membership was never his and his wife's goal, it is a well-deserved honor, and the TSSAA should be commended for their inclusion in the hall.

And on the referees

Am certain I stepped on numerous toes in last week's Takedown when I mentioned discrepancies in state duals officiating.

I was simply echoing numerous voices in the coaching ranks.

Were there some good officials there? That's a given.

The problem was the myriad of interpretations from a single set of rules by a rather large referees contingent.

Alas, when you bring officials from across the state, there are going to be different regional interpretations, and each official may have a unique definition regarding control, loss of control, out of bounds and false starts.

My point was the need to strengthen a uniform set of guidelines on the so-called judgment calls and make sure each referee was in accord, especially when officials, specifically at the duals, are rotating in and out of meets.

One ref who's missing

I was unaware until last week's Region 3 tournament that Scott Williams had decided to give up officiating to devote more time to his newest "hobby," that of being a grandfather.

The sport will miss him. Not only was he one of the top referees in the state, but he did his officiating with a much appreciated charismatic flair.