Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

IOC Tries to Emasculate Wrestling

Mavlet Batirov


The proposal of the International Olympic Committee to exclude wrestling from the Olympics aroused indignation among athletes all over the world. Some of the Olympic wrestling champions decided to give back their medals to the IOC in protest against this plan. In addition, politicians are indignant at the IOC’s scheme. The professional sport world is still boiling mad after the plans to exclude wrestling from the Olympics by the International Olympic Committee became known.

In protest against this plan, the renowned Bulgarian wrestler and 1996 Olympic champion Valentin Jordanov returned his Olympic medal to the Committee. Russian Olympic champion Sagid Murtazaliev decided to follow his example and to return the medal he had won in Sydney. Murtazaliev explained his decision by saying, “It’s a human act and my position as the Olympic champion. People are asking me whether it’s hard for me to part with this medal. However, I hope that by parting with the medal I won for our great country, I’ll help to keep wrestling as an Olympic sport; so, later, I’ll be able to win new medals for Russia and the Republic of Dagestan, where I come from. I think that all the Olympic wrestling champions will join me and the IOC will listen to us”.

The final verdict about the future of wrestling will come in September and wrestlers hope that their protest campaigns won’t be in vain. Mikhail Mamiashvili, President of the Russian Wrestling Federation (FSBR), said, “As long as there’s a chance for reconsideration, it’s necessary to use all the means to stop this process. We’re holding consultations and already working with the IOC. In the coming days, the new president of the International Wrestling Federation is to meet IOC Chief Jacques Rogge. We’re waiting for the meeting of the executive committee, which is to be held in St Petersburg. I hope that these efforts would bring results”.

The opponents of excluding wrestling from the Olympic list emphasise that this sport wasn’t only part of the first modern Olympics, but also part of the Ancient Olympics in Classical Greece. Natalya Yarygina, Vice President of the FSBR, said, “The IOC’s refusal to hold wrestling events at the Olympics would ruin the dreams and ambitions of thousands of devoted athletes. You can imagine what it means for those who devoted all their lives to this sport, and also for the many young boys in Dagestan who’d lose interests in wrestling and be back on the streets”.

Considering that, traditionally, Russian wrestlers rank highly at the Olympics, there were suspicions that someone wants to undermine the positions of our Olympic team by excluding wrestling from the Olympics. However, not only athletes, but also politicians all over the world are indignant at the IOC’s proposal. Amongst them are those who can’t be suspected of sympathy for Russia, for example, former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld. In his youth, he was a wrestler, and he’s still fond of the sport. The 80-year-old politician even said that he’s ready to enter the wrestling ring to defend the right of professional wrestlers to take part in the Olympics.

27 February 2013

Artyom Kobzev

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

This was in the commboxes for this post:

The Olympics are supposed to be a display of sports from around the world. No sport is more historically global than wrestling. Every culture and nation throughout history has created their own form of the sport. Secondly, it’s a sport that costs nothing to participate in. No fancy equipment, no sports complexes, etc… wrestling is a sport where even the poorest-of-the-poor countries can have success in. Plus, in the past 12 years, the amount of countries that have participated in women’s wrestling at the Olympics have DOUBLED. If a sport is growing so fast, why cut it? Dropping wrestling is a slap in the face to the history of sports.

Wrestling Roots

I need add nothing to that, save to say, “hear, hear!”


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