As predicted here Friday, with former federation president Raphael Martinetti gone, wrestling made major changes to strengthen its chances of remaining on the Olympic program after 2016.
The key moves at Saturday's extraoardinary FILA congress in Moscow, all of which go into effect immediately:
*By a 125-7 vote, interim president Nenad Lalovic of Serbia got the job permanently. He took over after Switzerland's Martinetti was forced to resign following the International Olympic Committee executive board's February recommendation to drop wrestling from the program.
*Matches no longer will be best-of-three rounds but will be decided once again by cumulative score, after two three-minute periods.
*Penalties for passivity were increased.
*With the change to cumulative scores, the infamous lottery used as part of breaking scoreless ties after a round was elimimated.
*There will be more weight classes for women and fewer overall competitors, both ideas the IOC favors. Rather than seven freestyle and Greco-Roman classes for men and four freestyle classes for women, there will be six of each.
“They (the IOC) gave us a yellow card, so we had to change, and we did," Lalovic was quoted by Reuters.
The IOC executive board will decide May 29 which sport or sports – including wrestling - should have a shot at the available spot on the program created by the recommended elimination of wrestling. The entire IOC membership will vote on the issue at a September meeting in Buenos Aires.
(For more on the process to try to keep wrestling in the Olympics, this link goes to my column about it.)Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun