Some might call that a conflict of interest. The IOC would call it business as usual.
As the ballots unwound Tuesday morning, the final tally had eight of the 14 voting members (IOC president Jacques Rogge abstained) opting for elimination of wrestling and three each voting to ax modern pentathlon and field hockey, according to The Associated Press.
So when the Olympians gather in Istanbul, Madrid or Tokyo in the summer of 2020, you’ll see modern pentathletes, synchronized swimmers, table tennis players and rhythmic gymnasts marching into the stadium for the opening ceremonies. Oh, and athletes from the sport the IOC will add to the 2020 program in a final vote this September, one from this list: baseball/softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding, wushu.
(Yes, I had to look it up, too. Wushu is an ancient Chinese martial art, as far as I can tell from the International Wushu Federation’s website.)
But no wrestlers. Unless, of course, the IOC breaks from custom by acknowledging the firestorm of criticism unleashed by Tuesday’s announcement and grants wrestling re-entry for 2020; it will be considered along with the seven aforementioned contenders.
If only it can beat out squash.