Daniel Igali: With wrestling vote, IOC surrenders Olympic ideals to corporate interests

Daniel Igali, the 2000 Olympic freestyle wrestling gold medalist and an SFU grad currently in Nigeria, issued the following statement today (February 12):

Like many wrestling fans and enthusiasts all over the world, I was sorely troubled and shocked by the news that the executive committee of the IOC had voted to axe wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games.

The rationale for the exclusion at this point is unclear and immaterial. Wrestling is the oldest sport known to man. Wrestling has been featured in every Olympic Games since the modern Olympics in 1896. Every nation and tribe all over the world has some variant of wrestling.

At every world championships I have attended and watched since the 1990s, we regularly have over 70 nations in attendance. Over 40 nations qualified for the London Olympics. About 29 different countries won medals at the London 2012 Olympics. How many other sports can boast of such stats?

Wrestling is a relatively cheap sport to compete in. It is relatively safe compared to other sports and rules regulating the sport are generally easy to understand.

For me, the question is not why wrestling should not be axed from the 2020 Olympic roster, rather, it should be about how many other sports in the world are as popular, have the same reach in virtually every nation and is as accessible as wrestling.

The only solace one has is that this is merely a recommendation from the IOC executive committee. The IOC general assembly will have to ratify the decision later this year. My heart is heavy because to my mind, the Olympic movement, by this proposal, has surrendered the original Olympic ideals of amateurism for commercialism and corporate interests.

I hope IOC members from every wrestling nation will vote against the proposal of the executive committee. More than that, it is my hope, that wrestling will rightfully be positioned as one of 10 core sports in the Olympic sports roaster. As we keep our fingers crossed, let’s pray that the IOC members see reason and do the right thing!

Comments (10) Add New Comment
Jeff Rubin's Fave
"You are a brand" the GS and Bob Rennie told us a few weeks ago. Why does this surprise anyone.
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Dave L.
Hear hear , Daniel you have spoken very wisely , the IOC is beyond stupid for this recommendation and with any kind of luck it will not be ratified
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sleepswithangels
I always wondered why this sport was in the Olympics. It's more of a Gay Olympics style event. Just look at UFC. Most of the fighters are too psyched out to throw punches and most bouts devolve into a couple of steroid freaks copping a feel on the mat while they flail away at each other like 12 year old girls. Borrrrrring.
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Indywarrior
Sleepswithangels - are you special?

Comparing UFC to Olympian wrestlers?

You do know that UFC is fake - a predetermined show....

PS - there really is no easter bunny, no toothfairy, nor santa.
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Westcoast Girl
Well at least with wrestling any person can get involved whereas other sports like figure skating, hockey, gymnastics we only get to send the best of who can afford the sport.
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miak
sleeps with angels I think maybe you need to come out of the closet
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Durgan
The IOC IS corporate interest. Amateurism is not an olympic ideal. Where were you during the 2010 games? Watch "Five Ring Circus" and/or check-in with Dave Zirin for a more thorough account.
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cHriSTy
Daniel,
Any chance you will be a star candidate for the BC Liberals again?
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sleepswithangels
Those are some pretty reactionary knee jerks. Poor reading comprehension as well. The average life expectancy of a CFL player is 57. It can't be that much for wrasslers what with all the friction damage coupled with repeated lack of oxygen to the brain. Knitting tea cosies would be more apt and safer for these sweaty mouth breathers. I'm such a caring person.

You're welcome.

And yes...who can forget that Igali embraced one of the most corrupt regimes in the Western world. Tell you what Danny Boy...the world is round.
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coltrane
Firstly, compliments to Dan Igali for the great words!

sleepwithangels, even if wrestling doesn't appeal to you, can you accept that it has a right to exist as an Olympic sport, especially considering that most of the world has been doing it forever? There are lots of Olympic sports I don't like at all, but I would hate to mess in someone else's favorites! What good reason would one have to take away a long-established amateur sport that millions of people love? Don't they make enough money off the Olympics? How much does it cost to let two people grapple with each other on a mat? No horses or special equipment...

And Indywarrior - the UFC is not fake. Pro wrestling is fake, but the UFC is basically similar the original Olympic sport "pankration", which was like wrestling, judo and kickboxing all mixed together.

And the "UFC" is just a company, a brand. The actual sport is called "mixed-martial-arts" or "MMA". It's not for everyone, it's a combat sport (like boxing and wrestling) but it's a sport alright, with strict rules and strong safety precautions.
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