The Ottumwa Courier

Opinion

February 18, 2013

Imagine Gable’s gold never happened

Olympic wrestling body-slammed, looking for a reversal

(Continued)

OTTUMWA — Taking away the goal of being an Olympic champion in wrestling

The Olympic champion in wrestling is the pinnacle of achievement in the sport. It’s not like other non-traditional Olympic sports where professional titles like Wimbledon, an NBA championship or the Masters (golf is being introduced as an Olympic sport) are more highly coveted. For wrestling, much like swimming, gymnastics and track and field, being an Olympic champion is the apex of achievement. To take it away because of a secret-ballot vote by an unaccountable IOC board is shortsighted and ignorant of the Olympics’ own history.

The IOC’s poor judgement

The Olympic governing body has been riddled with poor decision-making over the years — scandals, bribes, dirty politics and deals with conflicting interests. But this decision rivals them all.

The larger question is why does society continue to entrust so much power in unaccountable boards to make decisions that determine the fates of communities and our activities? Who are these board members and how do they get appointed? Big donors, connections, political kickbacks, “group-think” to go along with the majority and powerful members all exist. What are their qualifications? What are their biases? How much thought did they put into their decision? If you’re not wary about all-powerful boards, you should be.

Wrestling community bands together

The international wrestling community has banded together — countries thought of as opponents in world affairs, like Iran and Russia whose national sports are wrestling, are joining together in solidarity along with the U.S. to appeal this misguided, ill-informed decision and have it thrown out on its ear. These countries will meet and talk at the World Cup in Iran Thursday and Friday. A meeting with the IOC president is on the upcoming agenda.

Wrestling is one of the most diverse sports with nearly 200 nations from all continents participating. It’s also one of the most inclusive sports,  providing opportunities around the globe regardless of financial standing, geography, race, physical characteristics or gender.

The Olympics is a world stage that allows the inspiring stories of humanity to be told. With the decision to turn its back on wrestling, the IOC turns its back on its history and its mission.

Campaign to save Olympic wrestling

DES MOINES (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad launched a campaign to keep wrestling an Olympic sport after the International Olympic Committee announced its recommendation to drop it. Branstad was joined at a Friday news conference by Olympic wrestling gold medalist Dan Gable. Visit “Let’s Keep Wrestling” (letskeepwrestling.com) to sign a petition to be sent to the IOC.

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