The Norman Transcript

National Sports

September 9, 2013

Wrestling makes Olympic comeback

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Gold medalist Jordan Burroughs and his fiance nervously awaited word Sunday on whether wrestling would be reinstated as an Olympic sport.

For the Burroughs in Lincoln, Neb., and many others in the American wrestling community, the web stream of the International Olympic Committee’s historic vote from Buenos Aires was one of the most stressful experiences of their lives.

“It was like the most suspenseful movie I’ve ever seen,” Burroughs told The Associated Press.

Tension quickly turned to jubilation for Burroughs and other wrestlers across the world.

After seven months fighting to preserve its Olympic status, wrestling was reinstated for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Wrestling, which was dropped from the list of core sports in February, received 49 votes to win in the first round of secret balloting by the International Olympic Committee. Baseball-softball got 24 votes and squash received 22.

According to wrestling great Dan Gable, the IOC’s original recommendation turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Faced with Olympic elimination, wrestling finally embraced the change the IOC had long demanded.

“Had we not been kicked out seven months ago, we would have been seven months deeper in a hole that maybe we wouldn’t have been able to dig out of,” Gable said from a watch party at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa. “For me it was like, if we would have lost (Sunday), it would have been two losses in seven months. And all of a sudden it becomes a pattern, and a pattern of losses becomes a disaster.”

USA Wrestling helped avert such a disaster, reacting quickly to the IOC’s recommendation by forming the Committee to Preserve Olympic Wrestling.

According to chairman Bill Scherr, the group was instrumental in helping focus an international effort to reshape the sport.

Within weeks, the Americans were working alongside nations such as Russia and Iran to help FILA, the international governing body, craft their strategy for both a key IOC meeting in Russia in May and Sunday’s final vote.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Fieger leads Senior PGA

    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Gene Fieger shot a 3-under 69 in windy conditions Thursday to take a four-stroke lead in the Senior PGA Professional National Championship....

    April 18, 2014

  • Kuchar builds on momentum

    HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — There were no major letdowns for Masters contenders Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage on Thursday. Kuchar, who tied for fifth at Augusta National, shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 to share the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Angel Jimenez set for Champions Tour debut

    DULUTH, Ga. — Miguel Angel Jimenez’s starring role in the best Masters ever for players 50 and over was the perfect lead-in for his Champions Tour debut....

    April 18, 2014

  • Puig focuses on baseball despite issues

    SAN FRANCISCO — Yasiel Puig believes he has the support from his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates and the club to help him keep his focus on baseball despite challenges off the field....

    April 18, 2014

  • Wainwright two-hits Nats

    WASHINGTON — Adam Wainwright threw a two-hitter Thursday night for his seventh career shutout, chipped in at the plate with a double and single, and St. Louis benefited from four errors by Washington in the Cardinals’ 8-0 victory....

    April 18, 2014

  • Rangers edge M’s

    ARLINGTON, Texas — When Kevin Kouzmanoff was riding the buses in Double-A two seasons ago, he kept his focus on returning to the majors and providing the kind of production that he is now delivering for the Texas Rangers....

    April 18, 2014

  • Shields strikes out 12 as Royals sweep Astros

    HOUSTON — James Shields struck out 12 in eight innings and the Kansas City Royals completed a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros with a 5-1 win on Thursday night....

    April 18, 2014

  • Bucks owner Herb Kohl reaches deal to sell team

    MILWAUKEE — Bucks owner Herb Kohl has reached a deal to sell the franchise to New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for about $550 million....

    April 17, 2014

  • Hopes high for Negro League stadium comeback

    PATERSON, N.J. — The light touch of a paint roller is enough to dislodge a chunk of plaster from the crumbling walls of Hinchliffe Stadium. Though silent for decades, the former home of several Negro League teams is getting another chance ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Ryu takes early lead in LPGA LOTTE

    KAPOLEI, Hawaii — So Yeon Ryu shot a 4-under 68 on Wednesday to take the lead halfway through a windy first round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship. Japan’s Ayako Uehara was one stroke back....

    April 17, 2014