Wrestling Regains Spot in Olympics
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - After a seven-month exile, wrestling reclaimed its place on the Olympic stage Sunday, beating squash and a combined bid by baseball and softball for the lone remaining spot on the program for the 2020 and 2024 Summer Games.
Persuaded that the ancient sport is committed to remaking itself to appeal to a more diverse, contemporary audience, a majority of International Olympic Committee delegates favored wrestling’s addition in first-round balloting held in Buenos Aires.
Wrestling drew 49 votes; baseball-softball, 24; and squash, 22, after representatives of each made one final, 20-minute sales pitch about how their sport could strengthen the 21st century Olympic brand, The Washington Post reported.
Wrestling officials jumped with joy, and at least one shed tears when IOC President Jacques Rogge announced that the sport had been selected, according to Nenad Lalovic, president of the sport’s international governing body, which is known by the acronym FILA.
“I assure each of you that our modernization will not stop now,” Lalovic said in thanking IOC voters. “We will continue to strive to be the best partner to the Olympic movement that we can be.”
Lalovic was installed as FILA’s president after his predecessor was ousted following the stunning decision by the IOC’s executive board on Feb. 12 to drop wrestling following the 2016 Olympics.