What irks me almost as badly as losing our membership in the Summer Games is the way the leadership in Colorado Springs is parlaying it into their gain. The approach is as old as time itself; attack any crisis you have a hand in creating, deny any responsibility, demonstrate shock and dismay, create a call to arms, lead the charge, win the day and then go back to playing golf.
As this plays out in the media and behind closed doors, you’ll see this for yourself.
To start, the IOC did nothing wrong!
They simply approached this decision in a logical manner in keeping with their responsibilities.
As a for-profit corporation they are accountable to produce a product that the world wants to see, the major networks want to air, and in a setting where the athletes get a fair shot at winning. To achieve this, the IOC expects every sport to justify their existence through annual self-examination. This means:
1) Does your sport offer excitement?
2) Is it fan friendly, easy to understand, enjoyable to watch?
3) Do advertisers get a reasonable return on investment?
4) Are you epitomizing the tenets of good sportsmanship and fair play that is the bedrock of the Olympic movement?
For some sports this is no big deal, its business as usual. For others, internal reviews are new to them. For FILA, well, we’re wrestling, we don’t need to change.
All of which leads us to the IOC’s decision to eliminate wrestling. When they began their most recent review of sports, the one that stood out as falling short in each of the categories was wrestling. Being one of the original sports in the Olympic Games wasn’t a criterion. But in that enviable position FILA and USAWrestling had ultimate accountability to protect man’s oldest sport.
Unfortunately leadership failed us; FILA was arrogant and USAW was apathetic, as were all the other countries that have executive officers serving on FILA’s Board. Unforgiveable. This wasn’t a minor cut or scrape, it was a terminal heart attack and for those whom we entrusted with its health, it should be terminal there as well. Everything starts at the top and in that role it should end there too.
There you have; Who’s to Blame? Next week I’ll focus on What are the Odds?