WRESTLING IS the oldest Olympic competition, a tradition harking back to the original Greek contests — which is one reason why the International Olympic Committee’s recommendation to eliminate wrestling from the Summer Games beginning in 2020 came as an unwelcome shock to the sports world. But history isn’t the only reason why the IOC should reconsider its decision when it meets again in May in Russia. Under any objective criteria, wrestling should stay.
While sports such as beach volleyball might baffle the ancient Greeks, it’s reasonable for the Olympic committee to update its roster of events over time; the games need appeal to new generations of athletes. For 2020, the IOC wanted to free up a spot for a new sport and allow plenty of time for international competitions beforehand. The criteria the committee used in deciding which sport to eliminate ranged from television ratings to ticket sales.