World-Herald editorial: Governors talk sense to the IOC

18.03.2013 | World News RSS World-Herald editorial: Governors talk sense to the IOC

Thirty-two governors, including Dave Heineman of Nebraska and Terry Branstad of Iowa, are fighting the good fight in trying to talk sense into the International Olympic Committee over its inexplicable decision to yank wrestling from the Olympics starting in 2020.

The governors have sent the IOC a letter that advances common-sense arguments on why the Olympics organizers should rethink their decision.

First, the governors note, is the sport’s tradition, extending across millennia as well as cultures: “Wrestling was a key sport in ancient civilization, and its inclusion in the Olympics has continued to enrich the ongoing Olympic tradition. Early Olympic organizers recognized wrestling’s unique and global importance by including the sport in the 1896 Olympic Games held in Athens. Wrestling has been a key part of the Olympic movement ever since.”

Second, the governors explained, is the sport’s universality: “Forms of wrestling have been important parts of cultures worldwide, including China, Ukraine, Japan, Russia, Turkey, and many other countries.” Some 180 countries have wrestling federations — that’s 92 percent of the planet’s independent countries. The recent London Olympic Games featured wrestlers from more than 70 countries.

The IOC, of all institutions, should be in the forefront of upholding the Olympic traditions, not throwing them overboard for higher TV ratings.

The governors rightly prod the IOC for its lack of openness: “We would also encourage a transparent voting system for future votes on which sports should be included as part of the Olympic Games.”

Exactly: If the IOC insists on making such nutty decisions as eliminating wrestling, the world at minimum needs to know just which of the committee’s members are so dim as to not understand one of the Olympic movement’s fundamental traditions.

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