When news broke this week about wrestling being eliminated from the 2020 Olympic Games I just couldn't wrap my head around it! I'm disappointed, angry, sad and every emotion in between.
I have to speak up for the greatest sport my kids have ever participated in and hope that if enough people do so, we could make a difference.
Wrestlers are some of the toughest, most stand up people I know. It's an intense sport that demands mental toughness alongside physical toughness. When you are on the mat you are working to improve yourself as well as contribute to a team. When your arm isn't raised as the winner, it's time to go back to work. In fact, wrestlers often seek out others better than themselves to provide a challenge and help them improve.
They work, they sweat, they lose, then they win. When you lose a match, it's all on you. You can't turn around and blame a team mate for a poor pass or bad block. You look within yourself and accept that your opponent was better - you change your goals and vow to improve.
Kids learn to work hard, accept responsibility, set goals and work toward them. It's the ultimate sport of accountability. What better tools to give your kids to go out and face the world?
Our kids also play football and lacrosse, but let's face it, those sports are not available to everyone. They are expensive and require expensive equipment. Even if you are the best you can be, you have less than a 1% chance of becoming pro football player. Any kid from any town can wrestle with $30 shoes and lots of heart.
Wrestling is accessible, the sport's athletes are accessible - not for autograph signing but really teaching the next generation. Olympic wrestlers have come to my own town for a very nominal fee to work with and teach the kids that are up and coming. They sweat with them, they cheer for them, they sit on the mat and talk with them. They don't sit at the other end of the table and simply sign autographs. They are real athletes who pass on their knowledge for the love of the sport.
To remove a sport that formed the backbone of the first Olympic games is a travesty. To even consider replacing it with a sport like wake boarding is so sad.
If you want to help petition to get wrestling back into the Olympic games, please consider signing this online petition HERE.
If you tweet, use the hash tag #SaveOlympicWrestling and spread the word.