The announcement was a shock in itself in the sporting world the International Olympic Committee announcing its plans to discontinue the sport of Wrestling at the Summer Olympics. And then couple in the timing the day before the start of the Iowa High School Wrestling Championships, arguably one of the most historic and colorful events in high school sports, and right under the nose of some of the sport's greatest names.
The polite response to that announcement was "Really?"
To saw the announcement created consternation and outrage is like saying a person in the desert would given everything for ice water.
You bet your singlet that people were upset. - Imagine this: 13,000 people, standing in the seats at Wells Fargo Arena Friday night, all booing as loud as they could as the IOC decision was announced over the PA?system. Can we say chills down your spine? Oh, yest we can!
Questioning the wisdom of such a decision was on the minds of everyone at the press conference, and calls for a concerted campaign to make the IOC aware of the error of their ways was suggested strongly as it should be in Iowa.
Dan Gable, the acknowledged Grand Master of wrestling in Iowa was not a happy camper. Neither was Iowa Wrestling Coach Tom Brands. Or, for that fact, Doug Schwab of the University of Northern Iowa and Cael Sanderson, former Iowa State Cyclone and Coach at Penn State.
Governor Terry Branstad, and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds also jumped on the bandwagon, which picked up speed Wednesday and Thursday, and turned into a press conference at the State Tournament Friday afternoon in Wells Fargo. Gable, U of I Assistant Coach Terry Brands, UNI Wrestling Coach Doug Schwab, the Governor and Lt. Governor all turned out in the Principal RiverWalk Restaurant on the third floor of Wells Fargo Arena, and spoke of their disbelief in the IOC's announcement.
During the news conference, it was announced that the "Let's keep Wrestling Campaign" was officially underway; an effort to try and convince the IOC to re-think the decision.
Through this social media campaign, the public can express their opinion by going to :
Or, the Twitter account is: Twitter #LetsKeepWrestling while Facebook fans can go to:
In the first few hours of announcing the social media campaign, 2,500 people signed the petition.
"We contacted our whole Congressional delegation; both of our senators, all of our congressmen, and they all said they want to be a part of this and join in," Branstad said.
But the logic process behind the announcement still has many scratching their heads, looking for a justification, if any. The idea of wrestling being replaced by such "competitive sports" as trampolining, sport climbing and table tennis, to name just a few, have left me wondering just when and where the world shifted on its axis.
Growing up, I can recall in History classes that when we discussed ancient civilizations, the Greek society was always known as the founder of the Olympic Games, and one of those founding games was the sport of wrestling the ultimate challenge of athlete against athlete.
There may be more international fallout on the corporate front. With people talking about boycotts of the Olympics, there is also talk of boycotting corporations that pursue corporate sponsorship of the Olympics. That kind of a boycott could affect hometown America as an example, McDonalds and the CocaCola Company are just two of many corporate sponsors of the Olympics.
We're a ways out from the next Summer Olympics hopefully, the powers that be will be made aware of the public's discontent and reconsider their decisions. But despite the Olympic stance, wrestling will remain one of the most popular competitive sports in our country.