Team USA, OSU Head Coach Says Wrestling World Will Fight For Sport

Tuesday, February 12th 2013, 10:25 pm
By: News On 6

Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee may have pinned wrestling to the mat for good by announcing a possible end to the sport at the Olympic Games.

Team USA's coach for that sport, who is also Oklahoma State University's head wrestling coach, said he was shocked by the news.

"[It's] just devastating. I mean, there was no one in the sport of wrestling throughout the world who had any idea this was happening," Coach John Smith said.

This fall, the International Olympic Committee will decide whether to eliminate wrestling, starting with the 2020 games.

2/12/2013 Related Story: Oklahoma Wrestlers Shocked Sport May Be Dropped From Olympics

Just the possibility of excluding the sport is a blow to Smith.

"Wrestling shouldn't even be considered on the chopping block," he said.

Smith is OSU's coach, a two-time Olympic champion, and was Team USA's wrestling coach in the 2012 Olympic Games.

He said he's upset that the U.S. wasn't represented on the IOC Executive Committee that recommended cutting wrestling.

"Almost 200 countries participate in wrestling. Comparing that with other core sports in the Olympic movement, it's one of the highest," Smith said.

Wrestling has been an Olympic sport for the entire history of the games.

It now goes up against seven other sports, including squash, wakeboarding and baseball, for the final cut.

"I can tell you the wrestling world will come together and fight, and the fight has just begun," Smith said.

The IOC says only one of those eight sports will be allowed to compete in the 2020 games.

According to the OSSAA, 140 schools across Oklahoma sponsor wrestling and nearly 3,000 high school athletes participate in the sport.

The vote by the IOC happens in September.