An unexpected announcement from the International Olympic Committee has stunned athletes around the world. The IOC has voted to eliminate wrestling, one of the founding sports of both the ancient and modern Olympic Games, so that a new sport can be added to the competition in 2020.
Wrestling is a family thing for Josh Henson. It’s been in the family for three generations and the passion still burns, so hearing the IOC’s decision was devastating.
“It was a significant surprise because although my vocation in life is attorney, my avocation is wrestling,” he says.
He’s currently the president of the Washington Wrestling Club and says wrestling is unlike any other sport that has been on the Olympic stage since ancient times.
“It promotes a level of self-confidence that I do not see coming out of other sports,” he says.
His father, who died last year at the age of 90, was a true success in the sport. Henson still has the photos and the certificate from when he qualified to wrestle in the 1952 Olympics.
“Went on to get a bronze medal in the Olympics,” he says.
Henson believes the decision is partly due to politics.
“I got that kind of taste, what that dream could potentially be like,” says Jake Kettler, who wrestles at George Mason University. He qualified for the final Olympic trials and while he didn’t make it to the Olympics, he was hoping he could try again.
“Going to the Olympics, winning the Olympics, that’s the pinnacle, that’s the ultimate thing you can achieve in the world of wrestling,” he says.
Not alone, he says, because 177 other countries with Olympic wrestling teams are wondering why.