Recent news of wrestling being dropped from the 2020 Olympic games has been ill received by many fans. In an attempt to make the games more mainstream and viewer-friendly, the International Olympic Committee decided wrestling no longer fit into the 26 core sports. With only 25 sports currently left, a replacement will be made and a few of the sports vying for this single spot are baseball and softball, karate, and squash. According to the IOC’s records, wrestling had a lower than aimed for viewership- scoring a 5 on a scale of 10. They also had low-ranking Internet coverage and social media following. What the IOC may not have anticipated is their decision causing the opposite ratings for wrestling’s presence in the news, most impressively, online.
Thanks to the IOC’s decision, wrestling started to trend on Twitter averaging 20 new tweets every 30 seconds discussing the wrestling in the games. A Facebook “community called Keep Wrestling in the Olympics has attracted more than 60,000 fans” all within the first day it was shared. News organizations and publications such as USA Wrestling, and Olympic medalists are sparking conversation on social media. Most are protesting and encouraging fans to speak up in order to prove the popularity of wrestling, and that replacing this sport takes away from the creation of the modern Olympics in the first place. Past Olympic champion Khasan Baroev of Russia described the decision as “mind boggling” and the 2008 Olympic Wrestling team captain Daniel Cormier explained the Olympics as the only professional level wrestling ever had- so what’s left for those currently training?
Not only is the IOC being targeted at fault, but the International Wrestling Federation, referred to as FILA. They were responsible for convincing the IOC to keep wrestling in the Olympic games, and they have yet to prove how they attempted to do so. USA and international wrestling programs are demanding an explanation of how FILA supported wrestling and why they still lost the fight to the IOC. Despite the rare chance of this decision being reversed, participants and fans are holding on to any hope left, and Baroev promised, “This is far from over.”
This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Nicole Leo.