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By TED SILLANPAA

The International Olympic Committee dropped wrestling from the schedule, while keeping events like synchronized swimming, the biathlon and rhythmic gymnastics.

The IOC made a big mistake.

The mistake was making the decision to make a public announcement that the IOC was trash-canning wrestling. If the next Olympics rolled around without any mention to casual fans about the demise of wrestling, it’s likely many of the media members and Olympics television viewers in a manufactured rage now wouldn’t even have missed the sport.

Wrestlers, their families, wrestling coaches … sure, they’d have missed being in the international Olympics spotlight. But, who are we kidding when so many who haven’t watched a wrestling match in years are suddenly mocking the decision add, perhaps, golf and keep the aforementioned fringe sports in favor of wrestling? (As it turns out, I covered and wrote about a wrestling tournament for this newspaper on Saturday. So, I mean “we” as in … most people, not including me.”

There was a time when wrestling was a big part of the Olympics television coverage. Cold War rivalries made it a sports people who knew nothing about wrestling could still enjoy. The Soviet Union and East Germany dominated. Mainstream interest wasn’t in wrestling, but in rooting against Communist Eastern bloc countries.

Now? The prime-time network Olympic coverage is built for families and, particularly, for women. Don’t believe it? Try to remember how many minutes you saw devoted to wrestling or boxing in the last Olympics?

I’ll miss wrestling in the Olympics. Most everybody else who’s buzzing about how much they’ll miss it just jumped the bandwagon and took the popular, easy stance to keep wrestling over sports that most don’t consider sports at all. They don’t know Clark Gable from Dan Gable. The decision just gives them a chance to lash out at the Olympics as big business. And, really, the sponsorships and TV ratings that come with it are the only reasons golf would become an Olympic sport.

The IOC could’ve saved itself a headache by keeping the decision to cut wrestling quiet. I’m thinking that only a few people would’ve noticed it was gone.

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Comments

52 Comments

  1. Joe H.

    I strongly disagree with the IOC decision regarding wrestling.

    When the Olympics are on TV, I enjoy watching the Greco-Roman wrestling. I enjoy it because it is legitimate. It isn’t ‘rasslin or WWE clown shows. It is a true competition of strength and endurance and skill.

    It isn’t a bunch of steroid-loaded weightlifters who slam folding chairs over each others’ heads.

    it isn’t a bunch of clowns in masks and costumes with feathers and boas.

    it isn’t a bunch of fireworks and screaming 14 year old boys who don’t know the difference.

    It is a legitimate sport as old as the Greek Olympics. It is an original.

    February 17th, 2013 6:06 pm

  2. Elizabeth

    I hate to see wrestling go. It is a real sport, unlike others that have been made part of recent Olympics. I’m thinking of activities where little girls dance around with ribbons or couples dance on ice–that sort of thing. I can’t really call these sports. When athletes are competing in a real sport, the winner is clear to everyone. They may not like it, but they know who won. When the judging is subjective and there is no clear winner, it is an exhibition, not a sport.

    February 17th, 2013 7:16 pm

  3. overtime

    Elizabeth…Thanks for reading. Good point regarding sports requiring judging. Boxing has nearly disappeared from Olympics TV because of inexplicable judges’ decisions. I’ll miss wrestling while wishing all the folks upset today would’ve tuned in to watch wrestling over the last 20 years’ worth of Olympics. TV ratings cost wrestling, sadly. Ted

    February 17th, 2013 7:23 pm

  4. overtime

    Joe…Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it. It’s interesting that even as the U.S. sports fan turns in growing numbers to mixed martial arts fighting like the UFC, where grappling is a big part of the game, the IOC has decided that interest in wrestling isn’t worth keeping one of the original Olympics competitions on the schedule. It’s interesting to watch the UFC and realize that those guys do on the ground the same things wrestlers do. I wonder if any of the people upset at the IOC will actually pay attention to wrestling when opportunities arise? Ted

    February 17th, 2013 7:26 pm

  5. KB

    The Olympics have turned into a business. Too bad for that. The TV coverage this past summer cemented that thought for me.

    February 18th, 2013 8:15 am

  6. Kevin D

    People watch what is fed to them. I became a wrestling fan in 1972 because wrestling was shown in prime time during the Olympics. I do not watch professional sports – none of them – anymore because it is about the money. I will never watch another Olympics without wrestling. If wrestling does not belong in the Olympics, the Olympics has no meaning to me. The Olympic ideal has been trampeled underfoot. There is nothing olympic about it any longer.

    February 18th, 2013 12:40 pm

  7. Pam

    Dear Mr. Sillanpaa:

    Contrary to your opinion – most people jumped on this subject because the sport of wrestling IS a popular and easy to support sport.

    There is no bandwagon here, other than the one you’re attempting to create.

    The reaction you’re witnessing (and cared enough to write about) can also be called loyalty. Obviously wrestling had enough of that to get you to write your article.

    Your agenda is the one that should be questioned here. Not the reaction of the wrestling community.

    Buying into that money driven “it takes ratings to make it into the Olympics” train of thought is the surest way to transform the Games into the Pole Dancing Championships of the world. And even if that train of thought were truly what drove this decision – then the Modern Pentathalon would have been on the chopping block well before the sport of wrestling.

    February 18th, 2013 12:49 pm

  8. jon

    Dear Mr. Sillanpaa
    This whole bandwagon theory you have is bogus. Wrestlers, fans and families form a brotherhood/sisterhood of the sport. Would the mainstream sports fan miss it? Probably not, but we are for the most part not mainstream. We watch matches, go to tournaments and support the sport as a whole. It as grown at a younger generation strive to be olympic champions and now they are trying to take it away. We as a whole know the Dan Gables, Cale Sandersons and Jordan Bouroughs of our sport. We fight the descion of the IOC no matter when the timing of the release because we continue to fight and scramble until our bout is over and we as a brother/sisterhood will continue to fight for our sport to continue.

    February 18th, 2013 1:52 pm

  9. warren applegate

    ESPN seems to think that NCAA wrestling is worthy of broadcasting. They now broadcast live the quarterfinals, semilfinals, and finals of the Division I championships each year. The quarterfinals and semifinals are usually on ESPN 2 while the finals are usually on ESPN.
    The reason many people don’t watch wrestling on TV during the Olympics is you have to watch it in the middle of the night if you want to see it on a broadcast channel. Live web feeds from the Olympics of wrestling are heavily watched.
    Compare the number of countries competing in wrestling versus any other sport but track & field. You’ll find wrestlers from 180-200 countries compete in this sport. 20-30 different countries medaled in one of the three styles of wrestling in the 2012 Olympics.
    If judging determines who wins a contest then it really isn’t a sport, it is a competition in artistry. If you beat your opponent to the finish line, throw and object farther than anyone else, or score more you are the winner.

    February 18th, 2013 2:55 pm

  10. Rob

    Sir,
    Your comments of ” jumping on the bandwagon” are way off. Every sport has their supporters and to hear they are taking away something that is important to us, yes we are going to voice our concerns and complaints. The IOC has turned the Olympics into ” BIG BUSINESS” and they have never backed up wrestling, and pushed the networks to give it the coverage that it deserves. Maybe if wrestling got the push that gymnastics did, it would be more accepted by the general viewer, but it never will as the IOC has its favorites and always will, due to the fact that its about the dreaded “MONEY” word.

    February 18th, 2013 4:09 pm

  11. overtime

    Rob…You completely misunderstood what I wrote. The bandwagon-jumpers are columnists and casual sports fans who pay no attention to wrestling until it’s cut by the IOC. Wrestling fans like you are really concerned … as I’m really concerned. I just know that interest in Olympic wrestling wasn’t reflected in TV ratings … and TV ratings rule things. Read what I wrote again. I’m not way off … TED

    February 18th, 2013 5:08 pm

  12. overtime

    Warren…I appreciate your thoughts and that you stopped to read. ESPN fills multiple channels with all kinds of programming that often is of no interest to anyone, so … find another way to express that there’s interest in wrestling. Field hockey, lacrosse, high school basketball and poker pop up on ESPN, too. So?

    Watching web feeds, commercial free, don’t mean anything to NBC or any other Olympics network. So, if people aren’t watching wrestling (or boxing) in prime-time on network TV … the sport won’t survive. TV people don’t pay zillions of dollars to let the IOC steal eyes on screens … so, it doesn’t matter if I’m watching wrestling when it’s on, because synchronized swimming, equestrian events, etc. get far higher ratings … as would golf.

    Ted

    February 18th, 2013 5:11 pm

  13. overtime

    Jon…Thanks for reading. You misunderstood what I wrote. I’m a wrestling. You’re a wrestling fan. The “bandwagon” I referenced was media types and fans who haven’t paid enough attention to the sport to keep it from the Olympic chopping block. You and guys like you are fighting the good fight. My theory’s not bogus. You misunderstood. TED

    February 18th, 2013 5:15 pm

  14. overtime

    Pam…Thanks for reading, but read it again, OK? My agenda was … I have no agenda! I just don’t think that there are enough people like you and me and others who’ve responded here (true fans of amateur wrestling) who tune in and watch it during the Olympics. It doesn’t matter to the IOC (or the TV network that carries the Olympics) if people watch college wrestling (although, ratings show they don’t). It doesn’t matter if the gym was filled at the Sonoma County League wrestling tournament I covered Saturday. The ratings for Olympic TV coverage is all that matters to these people and … people watch in prime time (when advertising rates are highest) stuff like rhythmic gymnastics. It makes no sense to me, but … that type thing attracts viewers and wrestling does not.

    There are people who paid wrestling no attention suddenly outraged the sport was cut by the IOC. If all the people who were upset by the move watched the Olympic wrestling coverage … it wouldn’t have been cut. True wrestling fans are loyal. The IOC is catering to the people watching in prime time. TED

    February 18th, 2013 5:19 pm

  15. overtime

    Kevin…Thanks for reading. The only way to make a real impact on the IOC is to do what you’re going to do and not watch the Olympics on TV at all. Whining about the interest in college wrestling on ESPN … or the sports they could have cut … doesn’t do any good. The folks who really care about wrestling will take a strong stand and turn their backs on the Olympic TV coverage. Folks who just thought about wrestling last week when it was cut are the bandwagon-jumpers who won’t make any impact at all. TED

    February 18th, 2013 5:21 pm

  16. Clark Gable

    Sir,

    I’ve read your article and your comments several times (no need to suggest I do again), and I honestly have no idea what tenable solution you are suggesting, or what your angle is by suggesting the media is jumping on the bandwagon. Is it possible that maybe wrestling won some hearts last week? Is it possible some of the pundits actually feel what they wrote? Is it possible fans who don’t watch the sport could feel strongly about it? I don’t watch the marathon, but I don’t want it removed from the Olympics. Why and how exactly is it the “easy stance” to keep wrestling over other sports and how can you say you’re a fan of wrestling when you write “But, who are we kidding when so many of us who haven’t watched a wrestling match in years…?” And “Our interest wasn’t in wrestling, but in rooting against Communist Eastern bloc countries.”

    I can’t figure out how this article is supposed to help in any way? It sounds to me like you have this counter-argument, but you’re a fan of wrestling, so it’s not you, it’s them, and they shouldn’t fool themselves when in reality they don’t care, like, say, John Irving, Congressmen Dave Loesbsack, Jim Jordan, Tim Waltz, and Iowa State senator Tod Bowman. Not to mention journalists from almost every corner of the world. I suggest you fact check how passionate the Japanese journalists are about women’s wrestling. Or Iranian journalists in Men’s Freestyle and Greco-Roman. Not to mention every small town journalist in Russia and the Caucasus region.

    As for your point about keeping the decision silent, is that an actual serious suggestion or are you trolling for “manufactured rage?”

    February 18th, 2013 8:16 pm

  17. overtime

    Gable…You read my lead? Multiple times? Really?

    The International Olympic Committee dropped wrestling from the schedule, while keeping events like synchronized swimming, the biathlon and rhythmic gymnastics.
    The IOC made a big mistake.

    I think the IOC made a mistake, so I explained why I figure the IOC cut wrestling. You have to explain the TV ratings for wrestling to the IOC and NBC. It’s not my job to “help” get wrestling back in the Olympics.

    And, you’re probably, right wrestling “won some hearts” … without a match being wrestled for anyone to see last week. Everyone who was filled with rage when the sport was cut by the IOC suddenly fell in love with the sport that they weren’t watching because they suddenly loved it. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    You’re mistake is operating under the assumption I think your opinion is less valuable or less important than my opinion. You can use this spot for a forum to support wrestling any time.

    Ted

    February 18th, 2013 9:06 pm

  18. Joe in N Calif

    I hate the coverage of the Olympics. Seems that the Games are only Swimming, Women’s Gymnastics, Sync, Swimming, Track & Field, Bicycling, and Rowing. OH, and curling. and what happened to live broadcasts? Now it is all taped and managed for maximum commercials. And aimed at the NY/east coast.

    I wrestled (mumble) years ago in high school so I did pay attention to it when it was shown. There are so many other sports that people could be exposed to.

    February 19th, 2013 4:38 am

  19. Hugh

    Man as much as it pains me to say it… you are spot on. People who care about wrestling are passionate but those who aren’t, don’t even know what they are missing. Don’t kill the messenger…this message could not be anymore right.

    February 19th, 2013 9:18 am

  20. Dan

    The very foundation of your argument is false. The IOC did try to keep it quiet. The vote to drop wrestling was on a secret ballot. They did not announce to the world that wrestling was dropped. The wrestling community did, as soon as they caught wind of the decision.

    February 19th, 2013 9:31 am

  21. Brian

    The reason not many people watched is that the coverage was HORRIBLE! Schedules were wrong, and what little coverage I could catch on TV (in the middle of the night) was just small highlight clips buried in synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics fluff. I had to resort to the internet to watch actual events. I think it is about women viewers drawing more sponsor dollars.

    February 19th, 2013 9:55 am

  22. Jean

    I have a few reactions. The first is that more people would watch wrestling if it were broadcast at different times. My family, normally avid baseball and football fans, watches Olympic coverage each evening and enjoy sports we don’t normally watch because they are different. Archery, speed skating, swimming, rowing – we enjoy the change and watching athletes Olympic MOMENT.

    As the mother of a wrestler and a former gymnast, I feel allied with all of the sports for which the Olympics are the focus and the definition of the sport’s success. Take baseball out of the Olympics there is the MLB and the World Series, hockey the NHL and the Stanley Cup, tennis has Wimbledon, basketball the NBA, and I know golf has many prestigious events though I have no idea what they are because I, personally, would rather watch paint dry.

    However, for sports like wrestling, gymnastics, swimming, diving, track, etc. this is the most important event of an athletes life and you can tell when you watch them compete. NBA players don’t look as happy to win a gold in basketball as wrestlers do with a bronze. Remove these OLYMPIC sports and you remove the drama and passion that makes the Olympics special.

    February 19th, 2013 9:55 am

  23. Luci

    First, I want to say that there were definite issues with the TV coverage wrestling had during the Olympics. I dvr’d every time wrestling was listed as a sport that would be aired. It was listed 12 times, but is was only on for 3 of those. You cannot make an accurate comparison when other sports like swimming (which I loved to watch too) was covered so extensively.

    My two cents:

    I am a woman who LOVES the sport of wrestling. I didn’t come to know about the sport until my son brought home a flyer from school about youth wrestling and was interested. We signed him up and for the whole first year, I HATED IT! I would sit in crowded gyms for hours and didn’t understand why the refs would raise their hand holding up numbers. I didn’t try to learn about it or understand it. I tried the whole year to talk my son out of doing it, but luckily, I was not successful. When he started his second year, I thought I should start learning about this sport. Through that year, a love affair between myself and wrestling began. As I learned about the sport itself (scoring, positions, etc.), I also feel in love with everything it stands for and builds in the wrestlers. My husband and I were both athletes, we are coaches, and my kids participate in other sports so we have some knowledge and understanding of what other sports have to offer and I don’t think any compare to the sport of wrestling! Between my 2 sons, I spend A LOT of time in gyms watching wrestling. I post accomplishments on Facebook and tell my family and friends. They are all supportive, but I know they think we are a bit crazy and don’t really understand the sport or what goes into it. My point here is that while I really think the IOC got it wrong and screwed up royally, they brought attention to the sport like nothing else has in a long time. All of a sudden, friends who never showed interest before, are talking to me about wrestling . A high school friend went to their school board to start a youth program in a community that has never had one before. The other night our high school team had a dual meet and 50 football players came to support them and cheer them on. The room was electric and it was AWESOME! Not only is the wrestling community coming together like never before, everyone I know is outraged. People are asking me, “what are you going to do about it?” (Like I can call up the IOC personally and have them change this decision!) The point is that there is a great deal of interest in a sport I love that has been missing for a long time and it makes me feel WONDERFUL. I have hopes that this sport that I talk about all this time is finally getting the recognition it deserves from the public. Again, the IOC made a HUGE MISTAKE, but I like to look on the bright side and hope the upward trend of wrestling continues!

    February 19th, 2013 10:07 am

  24. lorraine low

    My son went to the olympics this summer to specifically watch the wrestling. He is a young Canadian Champion. There are alot more fans than you think.

    February 19th, 2013 10:54 am

  25. Bob Thorne

    I just can’t agree with you. The main problem with wrestling is its’ TV-coverage. It’s bad. I mean REALLY bad.

    Not to mention the rule changes that were pressed on to wrestling BY IOC. They made Wrestling exremely hard to follow for the layman.

    Sorry for the grammar, not a native speaker.

    February 19th, 2013 11:59 am

  26. Chris

    Ted,

    Very good article. I believe what you have said here is true overall; however what you’ve said here applies to about 75% of the Olympic sports and if any of them had been dropped you could write the same article and just sub in another sport (waterpolo, handball, fencing, etc…). Even

    As far as wrestling not being popular your view is rather ethnocentric to North America. Wrestling is very popular and watched in Asia,
    Eastern Europe.

    I have never seen this kind of re action from the dropping of another sport in the last 20 years.

    Chris

    February 19th, 2013 12:21 pm

  27. Chris

    I’m also not so sure how people here in North America are so quick to trash wrestling’s tv ratings or how much viewers want to watch it. Have any real statistics been posting or has it just been the (very corrupt) IOC making a blanket statement “wrestling got low ratings”. Wrestling is one of if not the most international sports and has a following all over the world. Can the same be said for kayaking, yachting, rowing etc…?

    The argument about ratings and popularity seems unfounded and borderline silly. I watched a ton of Olympic coverage in Canada. I saw next to no sailing, taekwondo, archery, fencing, handball, badminton and I didn’t even know modern pentathlon was an event.

    I agree that the Olympics are now primarily about business and money and that factors into why wrestling has been dropped but don’t be so eager to believe it’s a popularity issue… It’s about corruption and/or politics from the IOC and wrestling’s governing body FILA. Look at similar sports Judo and Taekwon Do. What do they really bring to the table that wrestling does not? Think about that.

    Chris.

    February 19th, 2013 12:44 pm

  28. Miller Cary

    Ted, fans of wrestling stay up until three or four in the morning to watch broadcasts of wrestling, or scan through hours of DVRed broadcasts to find the picked over coverage. Of course, we’re talking American viewers. And that, my friend, is a fairly narrow view. In several countries with a rabid fan base, wrestling is considered the national sport. And the drama is unique to the Olympic wrestling tournament, because it is the pinnacle of our sport. With tennis or golf… not so much.

    February 19th, 2013 12:49 pm

  29. E. Ryan

    This argument that the decision is justified because no one watched wrestling, anyway, is wrong-headed and misguided. In the last Olympics, TV coverage for wrestling was mostly tucked away in terrible corners of the TV “dial” at awful times of day, as it was for thrilling competition in the majority of Olympic sporting events.

    As a devoted wrestling fan (and longtime wrestler), I had to hunt through MSNBC, CNBC, NBC, and any other of multiple channels ending in “NBC” to find wrestling programming. When I could find it, it was invariably tucked into a 9 hour block of programming between 1 a.m. and 10 a.m., with no indication when during that time I could watch wrestling rather than, say, steeplechase.

    This was a problem not only for wrestling but also for the rest of the truly amateur sporting events for which the Olympics are the pinnacle of achievement. NBC gladly forsook thrilling competition in lesser-known sports in favor of manufactured drama and slickly produced reality-programming-inspired fluff pieces in gymnastics.

    We’ll never know what kind of viewership Olympic-level sporting events could garner. NBC won’t give them a chance.

    No one watched wrestling? Who could?

    February 19th, 2013 1:29 pm

  30. overtime

    E…Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You explained a good deal about the problem that led to the IOC decision. TED

    February 19th, 2013 1:54 pm

  31. overtime

    Miller….Excellent stuff. Hardcore fans went to great lengths to find the wrestling coverage. The average fan who makes up the TV audience in prime time prefers the sports we’ve been seeing in prime time. You make good points that, apparently, don’t mean anything to the IOC. Ted

    February 19th, 2013 1:55 pm

  32. overtime

    Chris…Good points. Judo, etc. almost never appear in the prime viewing hours of the Olympics either. Think about that. The TV ratings are available but … I promise … the TV ratings are as difficult to interpret for regular folks as are the complex, disciplined strategies of wrestling are to folks who see the sport once every four years. TED

    February 19th, 2013 1:57 pm

  33. overtime

    Chris…Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

    The reaction, which I tried to point out, was a knee-jerk reaction and … a week later … who’s still reacting angrily to the decision? It’s yesterday’s news to everybody except the hardcore wrestling fans who rightfully love the sport. And, as I mentioned, there’s no voice in the media to champion the sport. That’s unfortunate.
    TED

    February 19th, 2013 1:59 pm

  34. overtime

    Bob…”They made wrestling hard to follow for the layman.” Exactly! So the layman didn’t watch it on TV. So the IOC cut wrestling. TED

    February 19th, 2013 2:00 pm

  35. overtime

    Lorraine…Yep. There’s your son…he’s a fan. I didn’t know about him. That’s one. TED

    February 19th, 2013 2:00 pm

  36. overtime

    Luci…Thanks for sharing. I wrote in my second paragraph that the IOC made a mistake. So, we agree. TED

    February 19th, 2013 2:01 pm

  37. overtime

    Jean…Thanks for reading. I couldn’t agree more. Sadly, the IOC disagrees with you. TED

    February 19th, 2013 2:01 pm

  38. overtime

    Brian…The coverage reflected ongoing TV ratings. The network didn’t pull from prime time a sport that drew huge ratings, right? Ted

    February 19th, 2013 2:02 pm

  39. overtime

    Dan…I don’t think you read my piece closely because you don’t know what the foundation of my “argument” was. First, I didn’t present an argument. As you can see here, readers are confirming what I wrote … hardcore fans are intensely interested and others were concerned about the decision for 2, 3 days. TED

    February 19th, 2013 2:03 pm

  40. overtime

    Hugh…I’m starting a Reader of the Day award and…you’re the first recipient. I didn’t want hardcore wrestling fans to accept what I wrote without kicking and screaming, but I know I did a decent job explaining the IOC rationale for a decision I don’t agree with. Thanks. I hope the wrestling fans who just scan the piece then lace me up see your comment. TED

    February 19th, 2013 2:05 pm

  41. overtime

    Joe…It’s odd that ESPN and other all-sports networks do “expose” us to different sports but that people flock to the mainstream sports. I sat here watching a college wrestling dual meet the other day…in a near empty college gym. I can’t imagine anybody else was taking a pass on college basketball on TV to watch Arizona State and Oregon State wrestle. The TV coverage for the Olympics will never change, sadly. TED

    February 19th, 2013 2:07 pm

  42. Chris Provost

    I highly disagree. I am not wrestler, nor do I have any ties to wrestling, but I am a fan of wrestling. When the Olympics are on, I make sure I know when wrestling will be on, because it is exciting and portrays the true essence of the games. I know no one, and I mean no one, who watches any of the equestrian events, nor rhythmic gymnastics. Ribbon twirling is not a sport! I will not disagree that those that participate in it are athletic, and take great pride and make great sacrifice in perfecting their art, it is not a sport.

    In wrestling you have a clear winner and loser. Most matches are exciting and energetic.

    I am sorry Mr. Sillanpaa, but I believe are gravely mistaken if you believe that wrestling would not be missed.

    February 19th, 2013 3:15 pm

  43. Dan

    Excuse me, I should have said the foundation of your article. But you still have not responded to the point I made.

    February 19th, 2013 5:26 pm

  44. overtime

    Dan…The point you made regarding the IOC keeping it quiet would be met, I’m sure, by the IOC saying it just hadn’t announced it yet. That doesn’t make the move any more reasonable, though. The IOC has cut different sports that didn’t make sense. Women’s softball used the Olympics as its premier spotlight … it attracted attention during the games and in between Olympics. It was cut. I don’t think women’s softball is anywhere near as integral a part of the Olympics as wrestling has been, but that decision was nonsensical, too. Ted

    February 19th, 2013 6:20 pm

  45. overtime

    Chris…Thanks for reading. I agree with much of what you wrote. Keep in mind that I wrote that, overall, the majority of the media voices and others who were in such a rage last week have already forgotten the decision to cut wrestling. I stand by that … as I stand by the belief that hardcore wrestling fans and fans of sport who appreciate wrestling, like you, will miss it. We won’t know exactly how much or little wrestling will be missed in the Olympics until the next games. I wish more people cared about wrestling and that TV ratings during the Olympics and in between supported the outpouring of support from the fans who’ve contacted me. TED

    February 19th, 2013 6:23 pm

  46. Warren Applegate

    The NCAA semifinals and finals are broadcast on ESPN in Prime Time on the 3rd friday and saturday of March. This is right in the middle of March Madness of college basketball. I’d say they must think it draws decent ratings. Bybthe way this is relativeky a new deal only about the past 4 years.

    February 19th, 2013 7:03 pm

  47. Loneraider78

    My younger cousin got a wrestling scholarship and became a national champ at his weight. He’s one of the most dedicated athletes I’ve ever seen, and he’s a great kid. In other words, he’s as “All American” as it gets, which is the kind of thing tv audiences eat up. So why this sport never went mainstream is a mystery.

    I asked him why he isn’t going to the olympics to wrestle, well I guess I know why now. But he told me most olympic wrestlers don’t even wrestle at the college level, they just start training for the games right out of high school at special camps.

    We have always lived states away, and I have my family, so I never got to see him wrestle.

    Now he’s trying to go the MMA route because wrestling hit a deadend. It’s a shame, he was/is very talented.

    February 19th, 2013 9:33 pm

  48. Loneraider78

    I take that back.

    I know why it never went mainstream. It’s because it doesn’t have the shock and awe/violent KO factor.

    But, these are interesting kids and great, dedicated athletes who have a very technical craft.

    These guys are A1.

    February 19th, 2013 9:38 pm

  49. overtime

    Warren…That’s called counter-programming. Networks program specifically to pull viewers away from March Madness. ESPN has to appeal to sports fans … so what better counter to March Madness than the NCAA wrestling tournament? They got every NCAA wrestling fan to tune into ESPN while the tournament was on elsewhere. That has nothing in the world to do with the TV popularity of wrestling. They probably had poker and rugby on at various points, too. Thanks for reading. TED

    February 19th, 2013 10:39 pm

  50. overtime

    Raider…There’s no professional payoff at the end for amateur wrestlers and, for whatever reason, that plays a role in Americans really embracing a sport. Thanks for sharing. TED

    February 20th, 2013 2:20 pm

  51. Phil

    The decision to remove one of the original Olympic sports from the Olympic games is truly the worst thing for the sport and the games as a whole. I’m not trying to downplay anyone else’s sport or event, but we’re keeping syncronized swimming, ping pong and other events of lesser athletic ability? What are we replacing wrestling with, Texas Hold ‘Em?, flip cup? Olympic checkers…. I can go on with all these NON SPORTS. I for one will boycott the Olympic games until wrestling comes back. The Olympic officials should be ashamed of themselves. Have a great time with your Olympic Spelling Bee. Jerks

    February 21st, 2013 4:50 am

  52. overtime

    Phil…Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Ted

    February 21st, 2013 1:55 pm

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