It’s wonderful that wrestling received eight of the 15 votes to become one of three sports who will make presentations in September. But in no way does this mean we have room for optimism. To the contrary, all that took place in St. Petersburg was we overcame the challenges of five considerably weaker opponents while failing to persuade seven other Executive Committee members that we’re a sport worth saving.
So Let’s Look at the Competition
As for Baseball, we’ll be in trouble if they bring the financial backing of MLB to the party. Right now they’re not on board with their sports Olympic effort but that could change at any moment. If it does, they’d bring to the Games the same amount of marketing expertise and revenue that the NBA’s Dream Team has. The result would be catastrophic; au revoir wrestling!
As for Squash, they have the support of a lower profile, yet very upscale global white-collar community. They definitely know how to market and have a fast paced, fan friendly, easy to understand sport; a few things wrestling isn’t.
Check out the spectator numbers in the photos below to get an idea of what we’re up against. The first one is from Squash’s campaign to become an Olympic sport and the second is from the recent World Team Trials in Oklahoma where the biggest match-up in the history of the sport took place; Dake versus Burroughs. More seats were empty than full for that match; so is that a wrestling problem or one of an inept organization that couldn’t sell water to a caravan of camels crossing a desert? When a different organization handled last year’s All-Star Classic in Washington DC with a Dake versus Taylor match-up, the gym was completely sold out with thousands of people on a waiting list.
IOC, FILA and USAW, Three Peas, Same Pod
In February, the IOC Executive Committee gave wrestling the boot, for multiple reasons. Unexpectedly they were inundated by a global outcry far larger than they expected so they did what all executive committees do, they started pushing things downstream.
In our case they turned around and now appear to be on our side by selecting wrestling as one of three finalists for the September meeting. All that does is throw the decision in the laps of the entire IOC.
If we’re reinstated, the Executive Committee can triumphantly exclaim, “We knew you’d make it, remember, we were the ones who voted for you in May!” If we lose our bid, “It’s not our fault you’re out, remember, we were the ones who voted for you in May.” All their bases are covered. That’s exactly what USAWrestling is trying to do right now, cover their 6 o’clock position if things head south. Except for one individual here who’s calling bullshit regardless of the outcome.
Please Help Me To Help You . . . And The Sport
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