12:21 AM EST, February 14, 2013
Another swing for softball
First of all, wrestling should not be replaced on the Summer Olympic program, in 2020 or ever.
But if the International OlympicCommittee keeps its head buried firmly in the sand (or elsewhere), I am conflicted about a replacement because baseball and softball have made themselves a single entity in a bid for readmission.
Softball belongs; baseball does not because the sport's top prize is not Olympic gold but the World Series, and getting its top players to compete during the major league season remains a problem.
Better, however, to get softball back in, even if baseball tags along.
MMA makes most sense
If the IOC's true purpose in dropping wrestling is to keep the games current, the obvious replacement is mixed martial arts. I know many still view the sport as a half-step up from cockfighting, but the reality is that when high school wrestlers dream of the future these days, they probably imagine winning millions of dollars in the octagon rather than earning Olympic gold.
In fact, amateur wrestling is the most useful base for a mixed martial artist, and the UFC's ranks are filled with former college and international wrestling stars. By adding MMA, the IOC would honor the tradition of wrestling while adding a dose of excitement from a newer sport that has run successful events on six continents.
Wrestling needs an escape
Wrestling shouldn't be taken off the mat just yet. Sure, it will take a crafty escape to save it, but wrestlers have been known to do that since the sport was introduced as one of the first three contested at the original Olympics.
FILA, the world governing body, has mobilized and is conducting a special meeting at its World Cup in Thailand this weekend to strategize. There will be significant pressure leading up to the May vote to remove wrestling.
It's a shame only eight sports are on the list of the one that will be added in September. If modernizing the games for television and making money are the goals, then just add auto racing. Heck, the IOC already added tennis and golf.
Toss politics, add softball
Los Angeles Times
Hold on a second before I answer. Have to tie up my horse and take off my fencing gear. Just got back from my modern pentathlon lesson.
The IOC again has proved why it is up there with the NCAA when it comes to being more about personal agendas and internal politics than the good of the constituency. Did I mention Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. is a big shot with the modern pentathlon federation? Eliminating wrestling could be interpreted as a slap to the U.S. and others, but that would mean the IOC was trying to punish rather than promote its self-interest.
As for a replacement? First I had to look up what wushu is — a Chinese martial art — before deciding we should add back softball. Like that will happen.
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