BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. - One of the most popular youth sports in the U.S. may be eliminated from the global stage.
The International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday that wrestling -- one of the oldest sports in Olympic history – would be dropped from the 2020 games.
The Blue Springs High School wrestling team heard the news while preparing for the upcoming state championship. For them, it’s more than just a sport.
“When I go out there on the mat, I’m able to perform the way I want to. It’s no one else’s match but mine,” explained high school senior Cain Salas.
“The pressure’s on you to think,” Coach Mike Hagerty said. “Pressure’s on you to perform, and there is a lot of pressure.”
High school sophomore Joseph King agreed.
“When you step on the mat that guy might be your best friend, but it’s really a fight,” he said. “You have to do whatever it takes to beat him.”
For some of these wrestlers, this may be their last match. For other, collegiate wrestling awaits. But their Olympic dreams are pinned to the mat.
“I think about all the people that love wrestling so much and stuff, and how they’re just going to take it out of the Olympics because after college that’s pretty much the only thing left is the Olympics,” King said.
“You have all these other sports that go on and get to do the Olympics,” Cain said. “Why take someone else’s sport away?”
The IOC Committee will make its final vote for the inclusion of wrestling this September.
“We’ve got ping-pong, we’ve got some other sports,” Hagerty listed. “No disrespect for anything else, but wrestling to me has a lot more resolve to it.”
For these Olympians in training, they hope wrestling hasn’t heard its last whistle. Wrestling will now join seven other sports in applying for inclusion in 2020.
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