In case you haven’t heard – the IOC is recommending dropping wrestling as an Olympic sport for 2020. That’s not a final decision per the article – there’s a ratification to happen in September in Buenos Aires. Based on the phrasing in this and similar articles it sounds like we’re pretty well losing wrestling in the Olympics though. The official IOC press release takes a less dramatic stance noting that wrestling could be chosen of the eight sports currently vying for a spot in the 2020 Olympics. FILA is meeting in just a couple days to discuss the possible presentation to the IOC for inclusion per their website.
When I think the Olympics I think of wrestling, gymnastics, weightlifting, swimming, and track & field events, so really I’d be shocked if any of those left. I wouldn’t be too sad to see them ax any of the other of the remaining 25 sports (athletics, rowing, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, gymnastics, weightlifting, handball, hockey, judo, swimming, modern pentathlon, taekwondo, tennis, table tennis, shooting, archery, triathlon, sailing and volleyball). I’d even be sated to see judo dropped in place of wrestling.
Assuming they do end up dropping wrestling for good, I’d just like to put forward the idea that judo should be modified to have rules that would allow wrestlers and jiujitsuka to compete more fairly. Allow leg grabs, leg locks, and have a no-gi competition format. Change the current seeding process so that anyone can compete to qualify for an Olympic spot. The beauty of wrestling is that it allowed all folk styles to compete in freestyle under a relatively fair rule set. If we are to lose one of the oldest Olympic sports it would be good to see the closest known relative pick up the slack.