Local wrestling coaches are upset over the International Olympic Committee’s recommendation to cut the sport from the 2020 Games.
Drew Pariano is the head coach for Northwestern University’s wrestling program. He was excited to be in London this past summer to watch alumnus Jake Herbert compete in the games. The sport has a deep Olympic history going back to ancient Greece.
So it came as a shock to Pariano when the IOC announced it might cut the sport.
He says the Olympics are what wrestlers aim for.
"Those hopes and dreams are big in kids lives and it’s big in wrestling because that’s the pinnacle. It’s not the WWE or whatever you call it. True wrestlers love the idea that one day they could become an Olympian," he said.
Pariano says wrestling is an important sport around the world especially in countries like Uzbekistan and Iran. He says wrestling will likely continue to be popular in the U.S. and there will still be world championships even if the IOC eliminates it, but it would be a shame if it were no longer in the Olympics.
Wrestling joins seven other shortlisted sports fighting for a spot in the 2020 Olympics. Those include baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu. Leaders of each sport will make their case before the Executive Board of the IOC at a meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia in May.
The IOC will decide later this year which events won’t make the cut.