Wrestling Voted Back into the Olympics for 2020 and 2024 Games
Seven months after the International Olympic Committee decided that wrestling should be removed from the Games starting in 2020, the sport was voted back in during a meeting held in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Sunday.
The vote was held by the committee to allow one final sport to be included in the 2020 Games. Wrestling won by a wide margin, receiving 49 votes, while baseball/softball got 24 votes and squash had 22 votes.
It was an arduous road for the sport after receiving the shocking news earlier this year that one of the original competitions in the Olympics would be cut.
The news served as a wake-up call to the sport as wrestlers from around the world rallied to help save the sport.
The charge was led in many ways by several high-profile mixed martial arts fighters, who had either competed in the Olympics or aspired to get there during their career. Their effort was matched by promotions like the UFC and Bellator.
Fighters such as 2008 Olympic team captain Daniel Cormier, Bellator champion Ben Askren and a slew of other notable names helped the effort to save Olympic wrestling over the last few months.
The charge also forced FILA (the governing body over wrestling) to examine the sport and make several rule changes to help the matches flow better, as well as scoring changes to make the sport easier to understand for the casual viewing audience.
Other adjustments included more weight classes for women with six divisions now, while the men will lose one weight class in both freestyle and Greco-Roman style competitions.
"Wrestling has changed, wrestling has become a modernized sport ready to compete with other sports," Nenad Lalovic, president of FILA, said on Sunday during a press conference after the vote was held. "We convinced the IOC members that our sport will support the Olympic movement."
One of the biggest changes will make scoring for the match a cumulative total instead of a best-two-of-three scenario as instituted previously. Now wrestlers will grapple for two three-minute sessions with the athlete who gains the highest total in points winning the match.
The vote by the International Olympic Committee will now include wrestling in the 2020 and 2024 Games.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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