Resolution calls for wrestling in Olympics

Three House members have introduced a resolution calling for wrestling to be added back to the Summer Olympics.

Rep. Davd Loebsack (D-Iowa), a sponsor of the resolution, calls this week's decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board to remove wrestling from the Olympics in 2020 "baffling."

"I will continue to work with my colleagues to change this ruling on behalf of Iowa's, and America's, storied wrestling history," said Loebsack, whose state has produced a number of Olympic wrestlers. 

ADVERTISEMENT
The IOC's surprise decision was based on an assessment that wrestling is among the least popular summer sports, and generates low TV viewership numbers and press coverage. The IOC is keeping modern pentathalon, a sport that combines shooting, swimming, show jumping, fencing and a cross-country run.

The move has already led to petitions from around the world to ensure wrestling remains an Olympic sport. Wrestling has been a traditional strength of the U.S. Olympic team, and the IOC's decision has prompted some of the biggest outrage here.

ADVERTISEMENT
Loebsack introduced his resolution, H.Res. 71, with Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.), who also called on the IOC board to reverse the decision it announced this week.

"Wrestling defines the Olympic spirit like no other sport," Jordan said. "The IOC got this one dead wrong, and their decision threatens to extinguish the dreams of countless American athletes."

Loebsack's resolution states that wrestling is recognized as one of the world's oldest sports, dating back to 3,000 B.C., and is one of the original sports in the Greek Olympic games.

It also notes that 280,000 high school students wrestle in the U.S., and there are 300 intercollegiate wrestling programs.

"[W]restling represents the determination and hard work it takes to succeed in life and sport," it adds.

Loebsack said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) will introduce a Senate version of the resolution.