I don't ask that you back down from your preliminary plan, announced this week, to eliminate wrestling from the list of now-25 core events for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games and beyond.
And I don't ask that you stick with that decision when your membership casts a final vote and adds a few sports at a meeting later this year.
I'm as indifferent as I am to wrestling itself in all its manifestations — freestyle, Greco-Roman, Sumo, studio, Jell-O and mud. Don't appreciate it. Never watch it.
All I ask is that you make up your mind: Are your games a showcase for the best of otherwise neglected sports? Or are they quadrennial exhibitions of spectator-friendly contests?
If it's the latter, then by all means go for it. Dump wrestling along with fencing, badminton, weight lifting, cycling and all the events involving horses, watercraft or targets — contests too obscure and unpopular to rate anything other than brief highlight clips during prime-time TV coverage.
Replace them with the sports that fans have shown they care about more than once every four years. Sports such as auto racing, mixed martial arts, cricket, rugby, bowling, golf, baseball, softball, football and dancing with stars. Sports that pack arenas or draw healthy TV ratings even without maudlin back stories to hype the drama.
You've added golf and rugby to the lineup for the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro to go along with the now usual lineup of tennis, soccer and basketball. Bowling was a demonstration sport in the 1988 Summer Olympics (The U.S. didn't even medal!) and then dropped, but boosters have not given up lobbying for another chance, even as cricket partisans keep hoping that you'll reinstate their sport after a hiatus of more than 100 years. After a brief run, baseball and softball were dropped after the 2008 games.
Olympics as spectator bonanza is certainly a defensible approach. The best athletes in the world competing in the world's most popular sports for national honor and supreme bragging rights. And such a lineup wouldn't exclude any of the traditional Olympic audience favorites — gymnastics, running, swimming, beach volleyball, figure skating, ski racing and so on.
But if you want to preserve the essential charm of the games, you'll give the cold shoulder or heave-ho to any sport in which Olympic gold doesn't signify the highest accomplishment in that sport.
So no more basketball, tennis, soccer or boxing for that matter. Each has championships more prestigious than Olympic titles, and right now they're crowding out sports that really need a moment in the spotlight every four years.
Steven H. Biondolillo was onto something when he wrote in a Tribune guest essay Wednesday that "wrestling is not just mankind's oldest sport. It is, in fact, the very metaphor for sport itself."
It was a reminder that all competitive athletics boil down to the resolution of a basic question: "Who's better?"
Who's faster, stronger, tougher, braver, smarter, more skilled?
And that few sports answer that question with less folderol and impedimenta than a good ol' wrestling match.
Consider all the stunt-contests and vaudeville acts you've added. Synchronized diving? Rhythmic gymnastics? Really, IOC? Retire these sports before you even think of getting rid of wrestling.
Ideally, you'll then try to fill your schedule with the most popular events that also hew as closely as possible to the fundamental qualities of sport that often seem so lost, and that so clearly need the boost you can give them.
Keep wrestling. I won't be watching, but I'll still be cheering.
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