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In recent years the I.O.C. has expressed concern about the size of the Summer Games and wanted to cap the number of athletes at about 10,500. It has also said it wants to enhance its modernity by drawing younger viewers among the international television audience. On Tuesday the Olympic committee said in a statement that it wanted to ensure that it remained “relevant to sports fans of all generations.”
Olympic-style wrestling, with its amateur roots and absence of visibility except during the Games, lacks superstars with widespread international acclaim like Lionel Messi in soccer, Kobe Bryant in basketball and Tiger Woods in golf. And the popularity of Olympic-style wrestling in the United States is far surpassed by the staged bombast of professional wrestling.
Sports like snowboarding have been added to the Winter Games to broaden the audience. Golf and rugby will be added to the 2016 Rio Games. Among the sports that wrestling must compete with for future inclusion are climbing, rollerblading and wakeboarding.
The committee might also have grown frustrated that Greco-Roman wrestling did not include women, experts said. Women began participating in freestyle wrestling at the 2004 Athens Games.
A quota mixed with a desire to include women’s events. We shouldn’t be surprised that the integrity or the tradition of the Games would last. Even founding sports like wrestling are on the chopping block when the money is to be made by attracting the young, female, and marginal sports fan.