NIU reacts to Olympics removal of wrestling

By Ed Rietveld

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will signify the end of an era for Olympic competition. Wrestling will be in the Olympics for what may be the last time.

Last week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to eliminate the sport from its program starting with the 2020 Summer Olympics despite the fact that wrestling has been in the Olympics since the first modern games in 1896 in Athens, Greece.

According to an article, IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said the elimination of wrestling will help the Olympics become a more modern event.

“This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics,” Adams said in the article. “In the view of the executive board, this was the best program for the Olympic Games in 2020. It’s not a case of what’s wrong with wrestling; it is what’s right with the 25 core sports.”

NIU wrestling head coach Ryan Ludwig said he couldn’t believe the IOC’s decision.

“I think [it was] very shocking and disappointing,” Ludwig said. “But on the back end of that I know that the fight has only begun to get wrestling reinstated. And I’m very confident that the IOC will come to terms with the fact that wrestling…needs to be at the Olympic Games, and I feel like that very soon it’s gonna get reinstated.”

Redshirt junior Jared Torrence echoed sentiments similar to his coach’s.

“It’s super messed up,” Torrence said. “I mean, [it’s] one of the oldest sports in the Olympics and…you can even tell with the media blowing up about it how much people love the sport of wrestling and how tough it is. So, it’s heartbreaking, but wrestlers don’t quit at anything, so I don’t think it’s gonna fly.”

Junior Nick Smith said having the Olympics to shoot for after college was helpful for the sport and he worries about what wrestlers will look forward to after their college careers are over.

“I think it definitely really, really helps out the sport to have something else to work for beyond college,” Smith said. “So, I think the fact that they got rid of wrestling in the Olympics is gonna.,.I don’t know, hopefully it doesn’t affect the college [level] too much.”

Ludwig said even if the sport doesn’t get reinstated, he feels wrestling will survive.

“Well, you know, wrestling is growing at every single level,” Ludwig said. “I mean, there are kids clubs, high schools, colleges; it’s growing at every single level. So, come one day, I know that wrestling will find a way to create a world championships situation and will continue to grow as a sport.”