Shock. Disbelief. Disappointment.
Anyway you want to word it, that was the reaction across the wrestling world Tuesday as the International Olympic Committee’s decision to axe wrestling as an Olympic sport was handed down.
While the decision won’t take affect until the 2020 Summer Games take place, reaction was quick and widespread.
With Oklahoma home to dozens of Olympic medalists and national champions, there was no shortage of opinion from those involved with the sport.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Duncan coach Kevin Kelly said about his reaction to the decision. “I heard it early this morning, and I was shocked. It floors me that they would take away one of the oldest sports in the world.”
Comanche wrestling coach Jason Miller said he was informed by one of his students about the decision, but didn’t believe it at first.
“One of my kids had asked me during class if I had heard about the news and I told them no,” he said. “I just thought it was a rumor going around. But, when I saw it actually happened then I was shocked. There’s already enough problems hindering the sport of wrestling and this isn’t going to help anything. I’m worried about how this will affect the kids mainly.”
In total, the United States has won 113 freestyle Olympic Medals in the sport of wrestling.
Wrestling has its original roots based in ancient Greece, and is one of the sports which has been apart of every modern day Olympic games since its inception in 1896.
This past summer in London, the United States claimed two more gold medals in wrestling as Jordan Burrroughs and Jake Varner both emerged victorious on the mat.
“With wrestling you can go to college with it and the Olympics is as high as you can go,” Duncan wrestler Cameron McGill said. “To take away one of the original Olympic sports is just a stupid decision. I don’t think it will have a serious impact on the numbers in the sport. Kids are going to come out and keep wrestling just because they love it so much.”
While there is still a chance wrestling can make it back onto the Olympic stage for 2020 via another voting process, it seems unlikely that will take place due to it being taken out so soon.
“It’s just crazy,” DHS wrestler Christian Carnahan said. “This is one of the oldest and toughest sports around. The Olympics really promotes our sport. You can make money from the Olympics and that’s why college wrestlers go to the best programs is to be the best. Your taking away another level for wrestlers to work for.”