The Edmond Sun


September 9, 2013

Wrestling reinstated to Olympics

STILLWATER — A fresh look for an old sport kept wrestling in the Olympic Games, National Wrestling Hall of Fame Executive Director Lee Roy Smith said.

Sunday, the International Olympic Committee reinstated the sport for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The IOC's executive board surprisingly dropped wrestling from the list of core sports in February. Sunday, wrestling received 49 votes to win in the first round of the IOC's secret balloting at its meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Baseball-softball received 24 votes and squash 22. The vote followed final, 20-minute presentations by representatives of the three sports.

Approximately 50 wrestling fans attended a watch event Sunday at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater.

Oklahoma State University's Olympic bronze medalist Coleman Scott, two-time Olympic gold medalist and OSU wrestling coach John Smith and Olympic wrestler and OSU assistant coach Eric Guerrero attended the watch event.

"We are in for 2020 and 2024 on a provisional basis," the Hall of Fame's executive director said. "It gives us time to get in as a core sport. That is our goal."

Since February, international wrestling organization, FILA, revamped its organization and reshaped the sport.

FILA President Raphael Martinetti resigned in February. Nenad Lalovic took the reins. FILA gave female and athletes a larger role in decision making. It revamped the sport, adding two weight classes for women in freestyle and adopting rule changes that make wrestling easier to understand and more fun to watch. The changes also reward an offensive style of wrestling.

"Wrestling is new in virtually every way, FILA official Jim Scherr told IOC delegates during the sport's presentation.

In Stillwater, Smith, the Hall of Fame executive director, said wrestling wouldn't have changed if the IOC hadn't taken action in February.

"We could not have the reform, a revolution movement, without this. It was literally a blessing for the sport," Smith said.

The London Games bronze medalist, Scott, said he didn't know if the IOC would remove wrestling as a core sport in February and return it to the 2020 Olympic program in September.

"There are a lot of kids here," Scott said as he looked around the Hall of Fame. "This was for them."

Scott hopes to represent USA Wrestling at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He isn't sure he will be wrestling competitively in 2020 although he could be coaching Olympic hopefuls.

The rule changes already are in place. Scott said it has made wrestling a more entertaining sport by emphasizing scoring.

"It has brought a lot of excitement back. The scores have doubled. It's back to wrestling. What we love and grew up doing," Scott said. "... It will be awesome in the long run for us."

Wrestling added two weight divisions for female wrestlers and dropped one for males in freestyle. There are six weight divisions for males in Greco-Roman wrestling.

Gender equity was highlighted in the presentations by baseball-softball and squash, too.

"Every sport hit it in their presentation. They wanted gender equity. That's what the IOC is looking for. It's important that we did that. It's good for the sport. It might have saved us," Scott said.

Guerrero, the OSU wrestling assistant, said wrestling had 14 men's weights and four women's weights.

"We have moved to a much more equal situation that I think everybody is happy with," Guerrero said.

Oklahoma State University's wrestling coach has golden Olympic memories as an athlete and coach.

Smith said Sunday's IOC decision created another Olympic moment.

"This one was a great moment for me as a fan of wrestling," Smith said. "Obviously, I have had a chance to coach Olympic teams and be a part of that process after I wrestled, which was as enjoyable as ever. From this point forward, I am going to be a fan of wrestling. ... I'm just really pleased that through this whole process that I learned how strong wrestling was throughout the world," Smith said.

CHRIS DAY is associate editor of the Stillwater NewsPress.

Text Only
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg OPINION: Golf turns into snooze-fest without celebrities like Tiger and Phil

    The Masters lumbered on last week without two of pro golf's biggest names, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and fans changed the channel. The PGA needs someone with star power if it's going to lure people back to the game.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kaiser joins Thunder ownership group

    Tulsa businessman George B. Kaiser has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors as a new partner in The Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thunder Chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement Friday. Kaiser is purchasing the ownership interest of Tom L. Ward.
    “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.
    “I also appreciate the commitment and leadership provided by Tom Ward as a member of our ownership group from the beginning,” Bennett added.

    April 18, 2014

  • spts—UCO Kalynn Schrock smirk.jpg UCO’s Schrock earns NFCA Pitcher of Week honor

    Central Oklahoma’s Kalynn Schrock has been selected the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division II National Pitcher of the Week, it was announced Wednesday.
    The senior left-hander from Choctaw had a dominating performance in the circle last week, going 3-0 with a save and an 0.48 earned run average. She gave up just 10 hits in 29 innings while striking out 32 as opponents hit just .106.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • OCU takes confidence into SAC men’s golf championships

    Oklahoma City University enters the Sooner Athletic Conference men’s golf championships Monday and Tuesday at Tascosa Golf Club’s LaPaloma Course coming off an historic performance.
    In the Oklahoma Baptist Invitational, the Stars shot a program-record 265 in the first round en route to setting OCU records for strokes under par in a 36-hole tournament at 29 on April 7-8 at John Conrad Golf Course in Midwest City.
    OCU takes aim at its fifth SAC championship in a row. The Stars won the program’s 17th SAC title in 18 years at Dornick Hills Golf & Country Club. OCU owns 21 league championships, 19 in the SAC.

    April 18, 2014

  • spts-ESF Neil Knight.jpg Wolves claim runner-up crowns

    The Edmond Santa Fe boys track team flexed its muscles in the hurdles and distance races while the Lady Wolves used improved performances in the relays as both teams came away from the April 11 Putnam City Invitational with runner-up trophies. 

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • spts-LU Stan Holt head men's basketball.jpg Langston University names new head coach for men's basketball

    Langston University has named Stan Holt as head coach for the men’s basketball team.
    “We are excited and pleased to welcome Stan Holt — he is young and eager,” said Mike Garrett, Langston athletic director.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • spts-EN Haley Felix blocked.jpg North soccer teams produce shutouts

    Edmond North’s defense keeps pushing the Lady Huskies higher in the district standings.
    Pitching yet another shutout Tuesday at North High School, Edmond North blanked Moore 4-0 for a perfect 3-0 district mark.
    “Defense as a whole played well once again,” Lady Husky coach Corbin Frank noted. “Senior Shanna Rolfs and junior Chandler Wilson led the way, keeping Moore from ever really threatening the goal.”

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 041514 Nor-Mor b 01.jpg SLIDESHOW: North soccer squads take on Moore

    The Edmond North soccer squads welcomed the Moore Lions for a pair of games Tuesday evening.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos 1 Slideshow

  • 041514 DC-McG 01.jpg SLIDESHOW: Deer Creek wins at Bishop McGuinness

    The Deer Creek Antlers traveled to Bishop McGuinness Tuesday afternoon for a twin bill.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg OPINION: Wildcats aren't champs but we're all still watching Calipari

    Kentucky coach John Calipari is a college basketball phenom for his ability to knit together championship-caliber teams of freshmen. How long will Calipari's success last as other coaches catch on?

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo