Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wrasslin' Olympic Style

You're going to de-list this guy?
The IOC has de-listed wrestling as an Olympic sport, surprising only those people who were still aware that Olympic wrestling was an actual thing. (The rest of the country presumably believes that Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka took home Fiji's first gold medal, while Nikolai Volkoff silvered for Russia and King Kong Bundy won Skull Island's solitary bronze.)

This is, of course, an arbitrary and strange decision, as wrestling is consistently one of the most competitive and entertaining events. The removal of baseball and softball a few years back was a bit more
understandable; a few countries consistently dominated those events, they were resource-intensive, and they didn't draw. Wrestling, however, was competitive, fast, and cheap - just find a flat surface and throw out the mats, no pitcher's mound required. But it was still cut from the list of "core" sports (to which golf, rugby, and modern pentathalon have been added. Modern pentathalon, in case you're wondering, includes Zumba, syncing your iPhone wirelessly, competitive craft beer chugging, Farmville, and the 100m instagram cat picture). Instead, it's lumped in with a bunch of other sports that can lobby for inclusion, a shameful turn of events for one of the events that we can trace back to the original, all-Greek Olympiads when competitors entered the lists naked and there was nary a McDonalds' product placement to be found.

Wrestling partisans are justifiably upset by this turn of events, and as a result are protesting. Unfortunately, the form the protest is taking is that wrestlers in Tehran for the World Cup are going to lay down on their mats. Which is all well and good, I suppose, but if they really want to attract the attention of the IOC, they'd do better to lay down on piles of currency. The IOC's level of corruption defies comprehension, from bribes in SLC and Nagano to vote-buying to nepotism to scalping tickets to match-fixing to the fact that the freaking organization used to be run by a guy who was part of Franco's cabinet. You see a headline like "IOC Meets In London to Discuss Corruption" and you assume they're going to be talking best practices and innovative new techniques.

So if the partisans of wrestling, a good and noble goal that has brought together even the US and Iran on the issue, they should stop with the laying around and start with the shoving large bags full of small unmarked bills at senior members of the IOC.

Maybe they could add corruption to the modern pentathalon. Fastest bribe, quickest denial, whatever. It certainly seems like it would fit, at least with this batch of "guardians" of sport. And hey, it's already on the docket.
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