On February 12, 2013, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that wrestling’s last appearance in the Olympics is in 2016. After that, the sport will have to vie with other fringe disciplines for a spot in future Games.
When I first heard this I was shocked.
Wrestling has been in the Olympics since 1896 and is one of its oldest sports. However, the IOC has recently been trying to downsize the number of sports in the Summer Olympics.
I know wrestling isn’t so popular in Canada but in places such as the United States, Russia and Iran, it is HUGE.
Wrestling used to be a big part of my life when I was in junior high and high school. I competed throughout Canada and the U.S and was almost always in the top 3 rankings of my weight class. I was Manitoba’s provincial champion numerous times and in 2008 I became a Canadian national silver medalist. When I finished high school I was offered scholarships from Canadian and U.S universities and colleges.
Hearing that wrestling has been taken out of the Olympics hit close to home because I know the sacrifices it takes to be successful in a sport.
I chose to not continue with the sport and instead focus on my education, but for my former teammates and training partners, this was not their choice and the news is devastating.
My teammates who went on to continue to wrestle for universities chose to do so because they had ambitions of competing in the Olympics.They practice hard; many of whom train 4-6 times a week for two hours at a time. They must also sacrifice simple pleasures such as eating treats because of the strict diets that wrestling entails.
There is also the pressure of being successful when wrestling on a scholarship. You must not only win matches regularly but your school grades have to meet requirements as well. This leaves little time for a social life.
Many of the athletes I know dedicate their lives to the sport. When you dedicate your entire life to reach a goal, and then suddenly hear that it’s no longer possible because of outside factors, it is shattering.
My condolences go out to all the wrestlers who can no longer reach their dreams after 2016.
For more articles from Samara Funk, please visit http://samarafunk.blogspot.ca/