Since the turn of the 20th century, when the modern Olympics were established in Athens, Greece, wrestling has been one of the original sports to showcase. Over the years, wrestling has become a solid and competitive sport in the games, with participants understanding that it is the pinnacle of what they have trained hard for.
There have been a number of pro wrestlers who wrestled on a collegiate level, including Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, Shelton Benjamin. Gorilla Monsoon, Jack Swagger, Charlie Haas, Jack Brisco and Eddie Guerrero, among others.
Despite the long, rich history of this sport, earlier this year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to remove wrestling from the lineup starting in 2020. This drew the ire of many supporters, as well as collegiate and professional wrestlers.
Kurt Angle has been very vocal about his mission to save wrestling in the Olympics. The 1996 gold medal winner has used outlets such as Twitter and Impact Wrestling broadcasts to express his passion for the sport. Before the vote was up for determination, Angle tweeted his anticipation for the decision:
Well, Angle, among others, have their wish. Wrestling is officially back in the lineup.
The Olympics had the pleasure to announce the reinstatement via Twitter:
Jack Swagger showed his excitement on Twitter, commenting:
We did it!!! WRESTLING will continue to be a Olympic Sport!!! #SAVEDOlympicWrestling SAVEDOlympicWrestling SAVEDOlympicWrestling— Jack Swagger (@RealJackSwagger) September 8, 2013
Not only will it return for the 2020 games in Tokyo, Japan, but it is also confirmed for the 2024 games. The announcement has caused much elation for defenders of the sport, and the committed work that allowed voters to recognize the popularity of wrestling did not go unnoticed.
According to SBNation.com, there will be a few tweaks to maintain the interest of the sport:
Wrestling organizers have agreed to make changes to the sport, a sport as old as the Olympics itself, in order to boost television appeal. Those changes include the elimination of the traditional red mat, which did not look pleasing on television, and the addition of entrance music and visual effects.
Now, collegiate pure wrestlers have something to look forward to. Wrestling is back, and the Olympics has one of the pioneer sports that gave it the attention to be a worldwide conglomerate.