Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wrestling. Or A Post About Something Else.

Meaning something I don't usually write about, such as sports.  I've never wrestled myself but I have worked on strategies against an opponent when on the ground, and I respect what the sport requires.  Now the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to remove wrestling from the 2020 Olympic games.

The decision has caused the usual uproar of any sport that is removed, of course, but in this case the sport to be removed is one which was included in the ancient Greek Olympics.

The reasons given?  Low television appeal and therefore money, and a need to modernize the games.

Opponents point out that the other sports at risk had friends in the IOC whereas wrestling did not.

The question what sports to have in the games is one I haven't pondered a lot, but if it's the crowding of that two-week period in the Summer Games, why not move some of the indoor events to the Winter Games?  Gymnastics, for instance, is usually done indoors and is not dependent on the presence of hot weather etc.

Then to the hilarious comments about the removal of wrestling.  I think this one earns the gold medal on those:
According to, Vladimir Uruimagov, who has coached two Russian Olympic champions in Greco-Roman wrestling, claims that homosexual activists bent on world domination are to blame.
“If they expel wrestling now, that means that gays will soon run the whole world,” Uruimagov told the R-Sport Agency. “It turns out this committee is headed by representatives of these minorities.”

 “It is necessary for millions around the world to understand that this is a man’s sport and to understand the need to continue the human race to go out and explain their position to the Olympic Committee. We should prove and explain that in any other case there is no future.”

No comments necessary, really.

But this one is of some interest, too:
There’s a handful of other sports whose inclusion is just as hard to justify. A few are the exclusive province of the rich, such as equestrian and sailing, and others are just downright silly, such as synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics. Like wrestling, even fans of those sports don’t know all the rules and the scoring is hard to follow. But the same could be said about figure skating, for that matter. Apparently all of them, save wrestling, have enough friends in high places.
Downright silly, hmm.  Actually, if you think about it, wrestling is downright silly, also, and so are countless other sports.  In any case, what is silly is in the eye of the beholder.  The beholder I link to finds women's sports silly, by the way.

I'm not a fan of synchronized swimming, mostly because of the outfits and the underlying assumptions on why those are needed, but it's not too hard to see that the sport requires great skills, although not of the same type as, say, wrestling. 

And rhythmic gymnastic is the only Olympic sport which is at least partly about great flexibility.  I don't see why that is any sillier than having events about great speed or great strength.