One of my favorite scenes in the Hitchcock classic "Vertigo" features Jimmy Stewart's on-screen girlfriend unveiling a comical self-portrait. He hates it -- does not think it's funny -- and walks out on her. And as she sits alone contemplating his reaction, the woman grafittis her own painting, screaming, "Stupid! Stupid ... Stupid!"
To the International Olympic Committee, who today voted to exclude Olympic wrestling (both freestyle and Greco-Roman) from the 2020 summer Olympics, my thoughts echo those of Olympic historian David Wallechinsky quoted in The New York Times. STUPID!
I think the IOC will regret this decision for many years. Today's vote is like painting grafitti on their own image.
According to Around The Rings, the aforementioned NYTimes.com story, and other sports news sites, the IOC is defending its choice as a vote for other sports (rather than a vote against wrestling). The IOC says it wants to be "hip" and "with-it" (insert Dr. Evil voice here) and go with sports that appeal to a younger audience.
HELLO! Wresting is an ancient sport with millions of fans worldwide! It's also a sport in which a diverse array of nations qualified and medalled! It's been on the Olympic competition schedule for every modern Olympiad and ancient Olympiad. Olympic wrestling exemplifies the "stronger" portion of the Olympic Motto.
It's as though the IOC pulled a wrestling move -- the "insert head into anus" technique -- to exclude wrestling for 2020.
Fortunately, the voting members do have the option to dislodge craniums from sphincters at a May 2013 meeting, during which their vote may be overturned. I hope FILA, USA Wrestling and other wrestling NOCs may rally and get this mistake vote quickly erased from IOC history.
I don't mean to be luddite about the IOC's decision -- innovation is good. But nixing wrestling from the Olympic program is not innovative. It's ridiculous.
I want them to be lutte-ite.
Here's one way those who agree may help -- check out the Keep Wrestling In The Olympics page on Facebook, and send your thoughts to the IOC. What bone-head move will they think of next?
UPDATE ON SEPTEMBER 8, 2013: Thank heavens, the IOC corrected its mistake and reinstated Olympic Wrestling through a vote held in Buenos Aires. Whew! Congratulations to FILA, USA Wrestling and all the wrestling fans for their hard work to pin this inclusion of the ancient Olympic sport in future Olympiads. USA Today published a good summary of these developments for wrestling, softball/baseball and squash.
Photo via Associated Press at this link