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Wrestling Coaches React to Olympic Committee’s Decision

Knoxville Head Coach Ron Peterson says it was shocking. He’s referring to the International Olympic Committee’s initial decision to drop wrestling as an Olympic sport beginning in 2020. Peterson says there’s already been a strong push to rally behind the sport and ensure its Olympic safety. He says that wrestlers and wrestling fans enjoy the one-on-one aspect of the sport, adding it’s among the oldest sports in history.

71 countries had athletes participate in wrestling in the 2012 Olympics; Peterson points out that for many countries in eastern Europe, it’s among their biggest sports. He says the future of the sport could be impacted if athletes don’t have that final goal of reaching the Olympics. The final decision on whether the sport will be dropped will be made in September.

Pella Wrestling Coach Joe Burch says that he was surprised by the decision to drop wrestling. He says that wrestling has such a history in the Olympic games that it was a bit of a shock to hear it was the sport to get cut. He thinks that cutting the sport from the Olympic games reduces incentives for college wrestling, and thinks that Iowans will be very vocal about their opposition to the decision.