IOC votes to keep Wrestling in the Olympics
CHAD WISE / Sports Features Communications
(SFC) The International Olympic Committee voted to keep Wrestling on the Olympic Programme for the 2020 Games Sunday at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires.
“I want to offer my sincere gratitude to each member of the International Olympic Committee that voted to save Olympic wrestling today,” Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles President Nenad Lalovic said. “With this vote, you have shown that the steps we have taken to improve our sport have made a difference. I assure each of you that our modernisation will not stop now. We will continue to strive to be the best partner to the Olympic Movement that we can be.”
The IOC favoured Wrestling over a joint Baseball/Softball bid and a bid from Squash.
“I also wish to offer my appreciation and admiration to the leaders and supporters of the squash and baseball/softball bids,” Lalovic said. “Each of their campaigns was well organised and showcased a passion for their respective sports.”
Since learning of the IOC’s recommendation to remove Wrestling from the Olympic Programme in February, FILA has attempted to modernise the sport with rule changes to encourage competition and new distribution of weight classes to increase opportunities for women. The first-ever women’s wrestling match in Ancient Olympia showcased the Save Olympic Wrestling movement.
“To the millions of wrestlers, supporters and fans around the world that came together to save Olympic wrestling; I offer a very big thank you,” Lalovic said. “Every one of you fought very hard for this victory. Now we must remain united to make certain we live up to the expectations that have been placed on all of us by virtue of this vote.”
“I think wrestling has understood the message the [Executive Board] was sending a couple of months ago,” IOC Presidential candidate Thomas Bach said. “What you have seen here was a new federation of wrestling and it was a new sport of wrestling. The IOC members have recognised this with their votes.
“Wrestling represents the tradition of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Programme has always to be a balance between tradition and progress. Wrestling is a pillar of our history and represents tradition like no other sport.”
“Congratulations to the FILA team on securing their return to the Olympic Programme,” IOC Presidential candidate Ser Miang Ng said. “Faced with the tough news that they received from the Executive Board in February this year, FILA set to work revolutionising itself and the sport of wrestling.
“The presentation they delivered earlier today provided a reminder that Wrestling is a foundational Olympic sport and while it has its ancient roots, the reinvigorated sport of wrestling still has an exciting and important role to play in the Olympic Programme.”
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