Save Olympic Wrestling

British Wrestling was shocked and disappointed that at its meeting on 12th February 2013, the International Olympic Association Executive Board chose to recommend removal of Wrestling from the 25 core summer Olympic sports.

British Wrestling committed to working to ensure that Wrestling should be added back as a sport at the subsequent IOC Executive Board on 29th May and the 125th full IOC Session on 8th September 2013.

Since the time of the 12th February elimination from the Olympic programme from 2020, the sport has battled back with massive rule changes, more leadership roles for women and athletes and a complete look in the mirror as an international federation with 177 National Federations and 30 million wrestlers world wide. Less than a month after the IOC decision, FILA changed president, electing Nenad Lalovic, who is Serbian, to lead the organization. (More information at: The Changes)

Wrestling is inseparable from the Olympics.  The spirit of the Games is as much a celebration of the human achievement through peaceful athletic contests as it is a deep respect and recognition of the history of sport.

While we support adding more modern games with larger mass appeal to the Olympics, there are only a few contests that capture the original vision of the games: competition and history.  We view these contests as the soul of the Olympic games, without one of which the games loses more of its soul and moves irreversibly towards absolute commercialism.  Wrestling is not only one of the original sports competed in at the modern games but was central to the games in ancient times.

British Wrestling strongly condemns the recommendation to remove wrestling from the modern games.

Whilst there is a need for Wrestling to modernise and embrace the current spirit of the Games, the sport’s exclusion can only lead to long term estrangement of the games from its history.

While we will genuinely review the recommendation to learn how to better promote the sport in Britain and abroad, we will strongly lobby against its removal.


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