One day after the International Olympic Committee created a firestorm of protest for cutting wrestling from the Summer Olympics starting in 2020, IOC president Jacques Rogge responded to the anticipated backlash.
"We knew it would lead to criticism from followers of that particular sport," Rogge said Wednesday.
Rogge said he plans to meet with Raphael Martinetti, head of the international wrestling federation (FILA), to discuss the decision and what the future holds for wrestling in the Olympics.
"They vowed to adapt the sport and to fight to be eventually included in 2020," Rogge said.
Rogge pointed out that the elimination of wrestling is not final. The IOC still has to ratify the decision at its September meeting.
One sport will be added to the Olympics' 25 core sports before the 2020 Games, but wrestling is unlikely to gain a reprieve so soon after the announcement Tuesday by the IOC. Wrestling will be competing for inclusion with baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu.
"I cannot look into a crystal ball on what the future will be," Rogge said. "But I can tell you we have established a fair process."
Protests continued Wednesday from throughout the United States and countries such as Russia and Japan, where wrestling is popular. Former Olympic champion and Iowa coach Dan Gable said the decision "broke me up."
Wrestling has been part of the modern Summer Olympics since 1896. The Olympics are considered the pinnacle of the sport for freestyle and Greco-Roman competitors.