Wrestling dropped from Summer Olympics, Korea bummed

I don’t know how many will mourn the loss of wrestling from the Olympic Games, but a tip o’ the hat to Yonhap’s headline on the news:

“S. Koreans grapple with wrestling’s exclusion from Olympics.”

Of more concrete interest in what an absence of sweaty, grappling men in outfits that resemble atomic wedgies means to the ROK in the Olympics:

South Korea lost one of its strongest sports at the Summer Games. The country has grabbed 11 gold medals and 35 medals in total in wrestling.

Wrestling also gave South Korea its first Olympic gold, as Yang Jung-mo claimed the men’s 62-kilogram division in freestyle at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

This not counting Sohn Kee-chung’s gold medal performance at the 1936 Berlin Games, under the Japanese flag.

Vying to replace wrestling in the 2020 Olympics —yes, you are afforded adequate time to get over the loss— are: karate, roller sports, squash, climbing, wakeboarding, wushu and baseball-softball.

I thought that list included “waterboarding” for a brief moment, but of course it doesn’t. And yes, I had to Google “wushu“.

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Dude, this sucks. Not that I’m a Greco-Roman wrestling fan, but it’s outrageous that a sport that’s been in the Olympics since, oh, 708 BC gets the ax while sports like synchronized swimming get to stay.


    I wonder what the hell the Mongolians and Iranians are going to do at the Olympics now.

  • yangachibastardo

    Aroun one year ago i had a friendly with some dude who’s like a friend of a friend and a former selection for the greco-roman (it’s the popular variety here) junior national team.

    I managed to place a good (Thai) mid-kick and an eye-brow splitting (Karate/TKD) high-kick, but at some point the guy grappled my abdomen with both arms so quickly i barely saw it.

    It felt like a fuckin’ boa constrictor grip: could barely breath, could barely move and definitely could not do any clinch activity.

    I managed to stay up for a while exploiting my (slightly) bigger height and hooking my foot on the back of his ankle, while trying to relieve the pressure of his harms with my hands. Somehow i managed to take the match to some sort of standstill as he was a bit too unbalanced to complete the takedown.

    Out of frustration the guy threw me around like i was a pack of cigs, after that we decided to call it quits for the night. If we continued i’d probably be paralysed now.

    Wrestling is serious shit and i’m really sad to see it go from the Olympics…to see it replaced with what ? Wakeboarding ?? C’mon

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrisbacke Chris Backe


  • Anonymous_Joe

    Of course it sucks and on so many levels. Aside from the tradition, wrestling is as close to pure sport as track: no equipment necessary. Also, in terms of athleticism and the fitting the Olympic motto Citius, Altius, Fortius Olympic Greco-Roman wrestlers seem more world class athletes than the ping pong players. Do you think the ping pong players use the pick up line “yeah, I’m a world class athlete” and get laid like Usain Bolt?

    My major complaint, however, is that the bloated Olympics kept sports that have other and more prestigious venues. Does the Summer Olympics really need soccer? Soccer has other and more prestigious venues. Which is more prestigious, the Olympic gold or the World Cup? Same with tennis: Wimbledon (or any of the other Grand Slam events) championship or Olympic Gold?

    Even basketball. Any one of the NBA teams (except Charlotte Bobcats) would likely beat any country’s Olympic team (except US’s). Still there is no other world venue for basketball, so Olympic basketball at least provides a world venue.

    Finally, there was something charming and mystical about watching those sports that none of us really paid attention to except once every four years. Sort of like watching the Christmas specials before DVD’s.

  • 3gyupsal

    I thought that the Koreans were worried about losing Taekwondo more. I’m kind of disappointed that it stayed actually. Taekwondo brought me to Korea and I have about 15 years experience doing it, but I have to say that as an Olympic sport it is absolutely silly. Last Olympics it was really boring to watch these highly trained athletes hop around on one foot, fall down and then call time out. Every year they change the rules to make it more exciting, but it never works. And yes, wrestling should stay. Taekwon Do should go. Every year there is some kind of controversy about cheating. In 2000, the first year that it was in the Olympics, the head of the world Taekwondo federation rigged matches. A few years ago there was that Cuban guy who kicked a ref in the head, also there was that girl from Taiwan who lost because of equipment malfunctions. A replacement for it could be some kind of international martial arts forms/kata competition. That way martial arts from all martial arts countries can be represented, and not just Korea. But yes, bring wrestling back.

  • bballi

    except for the bit on table tennis I agree with this guy

  • IEatYourSandwich

    How about focusing on dropping those silly “sports” like equestrian or synchronized swimming?

    Why are douchebags in olympics always tries to drop martial arts from olympics?

  • http://f5waeg.blogspot.com/ F5Waeg
  • topadamornin

    There was an interesting report about this on TV last night. There’s no clear reason why wrestling was dropped, but there were a number of reasons given:

    1) Ratings for the sport are down – In this stupid era where TV ratings and sponsorships mean more than the sports themselves, it was said that wrestling just couldn’t really hold its own compared to the newer, hipper sports.

    2) Europe is doing terrible in wrestling – It used to be that Europe took home most of the wrestling medals, but since about 1992 (can’t remember the date mentioned) most of the medals have gone to Russia and Asian/Middle Eastern countries. With the majority of the panel making the decision being Europeans, it was thought that this could have been a contributing factor.

    3) Poor lobbying – Apparently the panel that made this decision was comprised of a number of chairpersons representing the sports on the chopping block. Wrestling had no such representative, and as a result it got the axe. Remember, we’re talking about sports like the Pentathlon, Canoeing, etc.

    I find it pretty hard to fathom they would remove a sport like this and keep some of these other, more ridiculous sports. At the very least, if they’re talking about cutting core sports they should maybe consider not adding more sports every Olympics. The above report concluded that the final decision won’t be made until September but that it’s very unlikely that Wrestling will remain.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gojaejin Jeremy J. Goard

    Dropping wrestling is ridiculous, but climbing is potentially pretty awesome.

  • http://twitter.com/ZenKimchi ZenKimchi

    Even though I sucked at it, like I did most sports, I joined the wrestling team in high school. We consistently dominated state championships, and our coach used to be on the Olympic team. Wasn’t a good idea for me to join while I still had braces. Nonetheless, I did learn some moves that have been valuable to me with drunken ajosshies.

  • lastnamekim

    Why do they keep eliminating sports that are nearly “international”? The same thing with baseball and softball at a time when Asian countries were starting to excel at these sports. Can we get rid of equestrian events instead?? When a 70+year old can participate in the Olympics in a sport, you know it’s not really a competitive “sport”. I don’t like wrestling nor do I like watching judo, but at least these are sports that require great athletic ability and strength.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    I’ve also practiced Taekwon Do for years. I can’t stress how much Olympic Taekwon Do seems ridiculous to me. Good form? Forget about it. Only watch Olympic Taekwon Do if you enjoy watching to spastic and high-strung competitors throwing sloppy kicks at each other and barely making contact.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    My high school’s team was at one time the top ranked junior team in the world. One world champion and about a dozen wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in their respective weight classes. It was really cool seeing some of my friends, many of which were from very poor families, traveling around the world to competitions.

  • yangachibastardo

    Ditto for Olympc boxing