The International Olympic Committee Executive Board on Wednesday announced that wrestling was among a group of three sports that have been selected for the short list of candidate sports for the final provisional sport spot in the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games.
Wrestling was joined by squash and baseball/softball on the short list.
These sports will be presented for a final vote by the entire IOC General Assembly in its meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in September. Only one will be included in the 2020 and 2024 Olympics.
The sports left off the short list were karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding, and wushu.
Wrestling was recommended for removal as a core sport from the 2020 Olympic Games on Feb. 12 by the IOC Executive Board. Being included on the short list to regain inclusion represents a significant first step for wrestling to remain in the Olympics in 2020 and 2024, but the final vote in September is an even larger hurdle.
“This is good news for wrestling, but obviously this is going to be a process,” USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender said. “The first part of the process is complete, and we're on to the next and most important part of the process. There is a lot of work ahead, but we're up to the challenge. The entire wrestling world needs to continue to push forward. We need to continue to work diligently and makes upgrades and changes to the sport to ensure we are successful in Buenos Aires.”
Representatives of the sport leaned heavily on athletes, promoters and others in the mixed martial artists world to help drive a campaign to get the sport back into the Olympics.
The wrestling world is also looking utilize some of the promotional tactics of MMA to make its sport more presentable to the general public, particularly television viewers, to help sell the IOC on keeping the modern Olympics’ oldest sport in the Games.
(Photo courtesy of Save Olympic Wrestling)