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Golf World Monday: Did golf push wrestling out of the Olympics?

February 18, 2013

From the February 18 issue of Golf World Monday:

Who knew golf in the Olympics could so quickly become, ahem, a wedge issue?

Although there has been no expressed correlation between golf's inclusion in 2016 and the International Olympic Committee's Feb. 12 decision to cut wrestling in 2020, that hasn't stopped wrestling's supporters and various media from making a connection.


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Wrestling, like track and field or swimming, dates back to the first modern Olympiad in 1896. Advocates can make several salient points in wrestling's favor, but denigrating golf in the process seems intellectually sketchy.

Lest anyone forget, rugby also was added to the '16 Games, and the uninitiated might describe it as wrestling with an oblong ball, which would constitute redundancy. The juxtaposition of golf and wrestling stirs populist angst, as does the notion that wrestling, contested among amateurs whose biggest global competition comes every four years, better exemplifies the true "Olympic spirit."

Ultimately, today's IOC seems to tie a sport's relevancy to marketability. Wrestling's supporters are welcome to go to the mat fighting that contention, but golf rightly is getting another shot, having debuted in the second Olympiad in 1900 in Paris and contested again in 1904 in St. Louis.