The International Olympic Committee voted Sunday to include wrestling over baseball-softball and squash for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Nick Zaccardi has the story on NBC Sports’ OlympicTalk:
Olympic wrestling is saved.
The sport was voted for inclusion in the 2020 and 2024 Olympics by the International Olympic Committee on Sunday, seven months after it was recommended to be dropped from the Games.
Wrestling, part of the ancient Olympics and every modern Games save 1900, was heavily favored to beat out a joint baseball-softball bid and squash.
Wrestling won with a first-round total of 49 votes to baseball-softball’s 24 and squash’s 22. A majority of 48 votes were needed to win, or else it would have gone to a second round. The voting was done by secret ballot, just as Saturday’s 2020 host city election won by Tokyo.
“Thank you for this opportunity to save our sport of wrestling,” FILA president Nenad Lalovic said in wrestling’s presentation to the IOC at the Buenos Aires Hilton. ”Today is the most important day in the 3,000-year history of our sport. And believe me, we feel the weight of that history. Remaining in the Olympic program is crucial to our survival.”
Japan loves baseball and there are large stadiums throughout the country. But the sport unfortunately does not have a worldwide following and stood no chance against wrestling and its centuries-long Olympic history. Baseball debuted as a medal sport at the Olympics in 1992. It was dropped after the 2008 games in Beijing.