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Tuesday
Feb122013

Olympic Wrestling Brouhaha: "It's golf that should never have been granted access in the first place."

Dan Wetzel is the first to take the outrage over wrestling's departure from the Olympic Games in 2016 and directly blame golf's inclusion.

Thanks to reader Patrick for what may be the first of several questioning golf's inclusion in light of the surprising decision to end wrestling's run as an original Olympic sport.

In part because golf and rugby are coming to the Olympics, something had to go. This time it was wrestling, apparently edged out by the modern pentathlon for survival.

As such, both freestyle (somewhat similar to what you see in American high schools and colleges) and Greco Roman, each of which dated back to the 1896 Games in Greece, will soon be history. Wrestling can try to get back in, but the odds are long.

This is a poor decision and it would be only slightly less poor of a decision if it was modern pentathlon (a five-event competition of fencing, horse riding, swimming, running and shooting) that got the boot instead.
It's golf that should never have been granted access in the first place.

He goes on to make the case that the best Olympic sports are rare collections of the world gathering to compete. And we know that happens multiple times a year in golf.

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Reader Comments (38)

He's right. Golf shouldn't be in, and wrestling shouldn't be out.
02.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSeitz
Yeah, I love this game but I just don't think it needs to be in the Olympics. I also feel other large sports like soccer, basketball, baseball shouldn't be in either, they don't need the Olympics. Football has never hurt from not being an Olympic sport, but every four years it's neat to see something different, not huge. Though I still hope Squash gets in, that's because it could really use the boost.
02.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBaltch
Seitz said it right. I'm a hardcore golf fan, however if the IOC has made it a zero sum game for the number of events allowed, wrestling belongs in the olympics over golf. Should there be room for golf beyond that, great.

Wrestling is one of the historical pillars of the Olympic games. It's unfortunate that ticket sales and television ratings have become more dominant criteria for event inclusion.
02.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPJ
To me this is an absolute non-event. People only care for track and field and swimming at the Olympics plus those sports where their own country is good. Everything else is sugarcoating. Is really someone crying about the exclusion of wrestling besides the athletes? Yes, no one will care about golf at the Olympics but wrestling would have been a goner anyway
02.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRyan
But synchro swimming, rhythmic gymnastics and beach volleyball survive...

What a swizz. And I say that as someone who loathes wrestling. But the organisers are not even pretending to all the stuff they make the athletes take an oath to (I can just imagine the feelings of the US golf team,. and others, to that piece of antiquated idealism).
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGhillie
What PJ says...:"ticket sales and TV ratings"...in other words "follow the money". Sorry wrestling, see ya in the high school gyms.
I won't watch Olympic golf. However, the 4 majors will be viewed in their entirety, as well as much of other PGA, LPGA, and USGA competitions.
There are enough highest level amateur and pro golf events without Olympic inclusion.

Regarding other sports, I can't disagree with someone who dislikes one or another, it's a matter of personal taste. That said, w/r to wrestling, if one admires The Hawk (Hogan) for his single minded dedication to excellence, it's hard to not feel the same way about Dan Gable.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered Commentergov. lepetomane
Brouhaha-what a terrific word!!
Golf out-wrestling in.I'd go along with that.Unless of course I'm invited to ref in Rio in which case golf will be a must!!
02.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchico
Since wrestling was in the original Greek Olympics. It should be there from a historical perspective. Golf doesn't need the Olympics. Anyway the IOC is riddled with scandal and backroom deals. Golf doesn't need to belong to or associated with them.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterNTL
The Olympics has become worn out and unwatchable.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterViz
Wrestling over golf - no brainer - Wrestling - one of the foundations.

But Wrestling lost out to The Modern Pentathalon where you need a f@#$$% horse, a sword and a rifle.

And the rumour is the next addition will be wakeboard jumping to bring in a younger audience.

Gotta love the IOC...
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIan Andrew
Mark me down for wrestling, against golf, too.....
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
If this holds true, most colleges will get rid of wrestling to help with title 9 and one of the great sports for kids of any size and shape will die. Very very sad!
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark
If the PGA tour wants to win some public relations points (if they need them) , they should work on sponsoring a worldwide Wrestling tournament that could take place during the Olympic year. Big wins for everybody.

Also, anybody know why they chose to remove Wrestling and not Boxing?
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAl P
There is no money in wrestling - unless oil or mud are involved.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAbu Dhabi Golfer
Wrestling and men's gymnastics have disappeared in most schools, I think. Title IX is just a convenient excuse though.

Why wrestling belongs in the Olympics:
http://classicartreplicas.com/greek_wrestler_statue.html

The reasons why golf does not belong in the Olympics are innumerable. There will be a fine course for it, though.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Put me down for Wrestling, and I have ALWAYS been against Oly golf, last ditch reason to have it would be if it were AMs only, as if they are actually AMs, as discussed in the Pubgolf thread.

Anyway, as said,,,,it's all about money, what the official paper clip, candy bar, and pooper scooper of the 2016 olys want. Pockets are lined and tradition be damned.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
I guess what puzzles me is the timing. Why bring in 2 sports, then 2 years later determine that because of these additions, that some other sport has to go ? My guess is that these decisions are not as closely linked as Whetzel and other think. And for all those that are up in arms about the wrestling, how many of them tuned into one of the many CATV channels to watch ?
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
A huge number of colleges already got rid of wrestling because of title 9.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMattS
Media error in logic. If it is a 'zero sum game' wrestling would already be out. the golf inclusion debate is a red herring. Whether or not one is included is not dependent on the other. At least by the evidence known thus far.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterT Money
Thank goodness they didn't touch Rhythmic Gymnastics..... the ONLY Olympic sport worth watching.

Fact is, an Olympic medal in golf will NEVER compare with winning one of the four majors.... it will simply be a small feather in some touring professional's cap. Tiger and Rory would toss that medal into the toothpaste drawer and never think of it again.

Still, for many -- track and field in particular -- the Olympics are the pinnacle. Wrestling, truly an ancient, deserving sport, too.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterbenseattle
I, along with I suspect most others in this blog, would be perfectly ok with golf not being part of the Olympics, and think that wrestling should be in the Olympics. So in that sense I completely agree with Wetzel's point and column. That being said I think this is a bigger issue than golf, and I wouldn't have singled golf out, or blamed golf in quite the way Wetzel did. Their are several sports in the Olympics in the same position, tennis for instance, or soccer.

As a general rule, I don't like blaming the symptom I prefer to look at the cause. In this case golf and wresting are the symptoms and not the cause. The IOC needs to decide what they want from the Olympics, and what they want the Olympics to be, and then golf and wrestling and all the other sports should be included or rejected falling from guiding principles.

That being said I have zero faith in this actually happening, or the IOC doing it right It is somewhat ironic that the organization meant to oversee the "purest" athletic event, is amongst most corrupt.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Wrestling, not golf
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJRP
Total coincidence I'm sure that wrestling is out while Modern Pentathalon stays in.....president of the modern Pentathalon organization? You may recognize the name: Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. Son of former IOC president.
IOC is corrupt beyond belief.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCM
I don't understand the disdain for Olympic Golf
More countries are developing top level talent.
WHile the majors are the most important, they are also very difficult to qualify for.

There will be many countries that are developing young players for the Olympic exposure.
There are stories of NBA and NHL players seeming to not give a damn when they are there, but there
are also stories of those same groups hanging, partying and enjoying the experience.

I look forward to seeing golf in the Olympics, and seeing who embraces the opportunity (and who doesn't)
02.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenternon profit winner
Tonya Harding called to say that you can take away her wrestling, she still has boxing to fall back on.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHod
Absolutely correct, wrestling should be in and golf should be out. Greeks used to wrestle and try to break each other's necks, but to my recollection, they never hit a round ball with a crooked stick while trying to break par. This is an interesting kerfuffle and I'm just breathless to watch the next 11 months of Olympic hype on the Today show!
02.13.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
@non profit - you beat me to the punch. We all want golf to flourish and grow. Let's look beyond where golf is already established and see the Olympics for what they are - the ultimate event for worldwide exposure of this game we love and cherish. Call me selfish, but let the wrestlers worry about their sport. I feel bad they got the boot, but so what? I'm excited about what the Olympics can do for my/our sport. I see no downside here...
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShadygolf
I love golf and will probably watch when the show it at the Olympics, but I would have no problem with golf being bumped and wrestling getting back in, the sooner the better.

This is not an original thought, but the most important sports at the Olympics are the ones where – when you compete at the Olympics, you are at your sport’s pinnacle. So swimming, many track and field events, and wrestling, the Olympics is the biggest stage and what should be strived for.

Not that it is unimportant for golf, but really, are there many (or possibly any) players who will in coming years rather win an Olympic gold medal than win a major? Golf, tennis, NHL already have international competitions that are far more revered than the Olympics.

The fact that there are already competitions like the Ryder Cup, Walker Cup and the like further dampen what will be a pretty boring competition anyway, there isn’t even a team component in the golf competition. And the LPGA really got it right with the new International Crown, which will be closely tied to individual countries. [btw why “Crown”? it should be a Cup!]
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim
golf generates TV revenues. Wrestling doesn't. That modern pentathlon stayed in only indicates further digging is needed to find out which IOC members are getting kickbacks from the MP federation.

Better question is, given the billions paid each cycle for olympic programming, ANY sport gets kicked out. baseball i understand--the IOC wanted the major leagues to shut down for two weeks, and the owners (and fans) said --sure! you guys at the IOC send us the billions we'd lose and we'd love to take a break in August.

but kicking out wrestling just confirms the greed and lack of concern for anything other than cash at the olympics.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered Commentered
Imagine how Hulk Hogan feels.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAG
Ok seriously, enough on the amateur stuff AP guy. Phelps gets paid plenty, and Roland Garros of the beloved wrestling has made a fair amount of money off of his Olympic story. And that is as it should be, money is not evil, getting paid for something you're good at is a good thing (an the Olympics makes a ton off of the athletes). But lets not pretend that the golfers competing are any different than the swimmers in terms of being pro's.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Problem with wrestling is, what's to market? Golf has head-to-tow garments and tons of equipment and peripherals.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGhillie
Shame on the IOC but I don't think any of us would suggest they've been within three marathons of the moral high ground in the last 30 years.

Professional sports pretty much across the board have jumped the shark. Or maybe it's me. Skipped the Super Bowl. Skipped the Summer Games. Skipped all golf except the Ryder Cup and two of the four majors. Haven't watched basketball, baseball, hockey or tennis in at least a decade. The only sport on my television these days is soccer. I watched Spurs v. Newcastle on ESPN2 last weekend. After the match there was 20 minutes of analysis. All was well. Then they switched to one of their dozen shows dedicated to "American sports". Immediately it seemed I was listening to a high school cafeteria table full of slackers. The day FSC or Sky go all inner city G on me is the day I'm done with televised sport completely.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSeán O'Nuallain
When the boys in the neighborhood were all 9 or 10 years old and the Mexico Olympics were on the TV, we had our own Olympics competition. Running, high jump, long jump, javelin (we made our javelins, of course), discus (same same), archery, etc. We had wrestling. And we had golf. We went down to Paul’s Par 3 (RIP) and had a shoot out. Joe’s Mom agreed to transport us down, and all the Moms were probably pretty happy that we were playing sport and not booze or drugs or deer antler spray or other vices. But golf was there as a competition for us, and we surely didn’t know it wasn’t in the Olympics then. I don’t think it does any harm to keep it in. But wrestling should stay, too. Sad that the IOC feels they must choose. Aristocrats surely don’t have neighborhood competitions like we did.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBob
@Bob

Any chance Paul's Par 3 (RIP) was located about 4100 S. 4800 W.? If so, that's where I first picked up a club. Probably closer to Montreal or Moscow rather than Mexico City though.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSeán O'Nuallain
Like most people on here, my television is fixed on the Golf Channel for most months of the year. But the last Olympics I was thrilled to watch all the wrestling, weightlifting, fencing, and several other sports through TV and internet feeds. Guys like Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, and David Beckham aren't going to shed any tears on the podium. Like others here have said, the draw of the Olympics is the passion and talent of the athletes who are competing on the biggest stage they will ever have.
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDan
@Sean - Yes, that's the one. I still have the scorecard.
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBob

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