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  1. #1
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    Default Wrestling out of Olympics, Interesting article. (HR I swear)

    So I know there is a thread on Dressage as well but this article shows how the majority of sports writers view us and the modern pentathalon folks.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/blog/olymp...fore-wrestling

    ~Emily
    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries



  2. #2
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    You know, I'm a bit perplexed by it as well. If I were a non-horsey person, it would seem far more logical to exclude dressage, or more likely, Eventing. Dressage because it's seems ridiculous to all but the well indoctrinated and Eventing because it requires the construction of a venue--one which cannot be used for any other Olympic sport--that necessitates a great deal of land, engineering, etc. Not that I want to see equestrian sports excluded from the Olympics, simply that I'd be less surprised should that come to pass than I was today with wrestling.

    It's so surprising to me. It's a pure amateur sport-- an Olympic original. The Olympics have always been the culmination; it's what all young athletes in the sport dream about. It's a mainstay in most American high schools and enjoys a hearty following overseas.

    I don't get it. I don't like to play sport against sport (because what I love, others find ridiculous, and what I find ridiculous--cough...rhythmic gymnastics, race walking--others love), but there would have been about ten other sports I would have thought more likely to go before wrestling hit the chopping block.


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  3. #3
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    I don't think wrestling should be out of the Olympics over other things (table tennis, rhythm gymnastics, etc.) but it makes me crazy that everyone has the misconception that anyone riding horses in the Olympics is some wealthy, elitist person. If they had any idea how hard these people worked!
    Blog: http://movingonupeventing.blogspot.com/

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  4. #4
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    How about basketball--not a whiff of amateurism surrounding it.



  5. #5
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    Hang on. Aren't we doing exactly what we see the Non Horsey world doing? We're judging other sports as being "Not Olympic Quality" and I am guessing not many of us are experts on the virtues of competitive table tennis, synchronized swimming, or any of the other sports we say aren't worth including.

    The IOC has been having these meetings in the winter post the Olympics regularly. The aim, and this has been mentioned a ton, is to keep the games current and appealing to the people who watch and come travel to attend. As much as folks may think equestrian is the sport of kings, the universal love of horses by small girls everywhere has kept us with solid TV ratings for a while. I am not surprised in the least that post London we're not on the chopping block. Why not? Because we finally had a Host City in a country that supports the equestrian lifestyle. The TV ratings were very strong in Europe and the attendance, likely thanks to said equine savvy fans and a little bit of royal watching with Zara, and the royals showing up to watch all the disciplines.

    Are we going to be safe forever? No. But right now we did well so we can breath a bit easier at least through 2024. (We wouldn't be ousted until 2028 and that's if they decided to pull us in the next go round)

    ~Emily
    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


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  6. #6
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    I agree that it's ridiculous to drop wrestling. Cheap, done all over the world, and one of the Olympic stalwarts, albeit (I suspect) not very popular with spectators.

    But I'm mildly bumfuzzled by the author's not mentioning the "other" super elitist sport--Yachting. It's one which has logistical problems since the Olympic venues are rarely on the ocean.

    As to the cost of construction of XC courses, what about some of the other water sports? They had to build a whitewater course in Britain from concrete and rocks in the flat lands. They also have to (or had to) construct an artificial venue for canoeing. Building a white water course has to be far more expensive than a XC course, and it takes land as well.
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  7. #7
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    The pentathlon world, microplanet that it is, was celebrating this morning. In Canada, we'd been alarmed by a report that appeared briefly on the CBC last week that said that pentathlon was definitely out. We still haven't found the source of that story.

    I feel really, really bad for wrestling. That one hadn't come up in most reports, although it was featured prominently in this article in the Telegraph, with a rather unappealing photo.

    FILA, the wrestling FEI, must not have lobbied properly -- if the word 'properly' can be applied to anything relating to the venal, corrupt IOC -- on behalf of its sports. There are a few legitimate gripes. Corrupt judging is one (there were lots of issues in Beijing); another is the lack of female participants. While there are lots of weight classes for men across two different styles, there's no Greco-Roman at all for women and freestyle is divided into small, medium, and large. There were 56 medals given to men but just 16 to women. Not very equal. Perhaps FILA liked it that way, and that would/should count against them.

    Wrestling is not an elitist sport. It's popular in unpopular places like Iran, Mongolia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, countries that don't carry much influence in the IOC.

    Over at the Wall Street Journal, there's a good column titled Wrestling: What the Olympics are all about:

    But there was at least the comfort that, in many sports, the Olympics still represented the pinnacle. That is why, during the Olympics, ordinary people watch sports they ordinarily would never watch. People who drink chili out of Denver Bronco cup-holders and pray to Dustin Pedroia Fatheads suddenly become absorbed in tiny Olympic events like shooting and curling and pole-vaulting, despite knowing almost nothing about shooting and curling and pole-vaulting. They watch because these Olympic events matter to the athletes who compete in them. The stakes are almost unfathomable—many of these competitors have spent years practicing in obscurity for this very brief moment. In an era of phony drama, it's a drama that cannot be faked. It's mesmerizing.
    So get ready to push all that aside for Olympic golf. Because Tiger Woods and his ilk need to stand on the podium with medals around their neck and divert the media from the athletes who've been working for decades to see their name in the headlines just maybe once.

    The WSJ also had the IOC voting, round by round. Very interesting dealing going on, I assume.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xctrygirl View Post
    Hang on. Aren't we doing exactly what we see the Non Horsey world doing? We're judging other sports as being "Not Olympic Quality" and I am guessing not many of us are experts on the virtues of competitive table tennis, synchronized swimming, or any of the other sports we say aren't worth including.
    Synchronized swimming is a problem because it's limited to women. (Men do compete in non-Olympic competitions.) It's also, for reasons I cannot fathom, a predominantly Canadian sport. But synchro falls under the auspices of FINA, so the IOC is unlikely to take action against it, although the solo event was axed after 1996, probably due to the stress of maintaining that an oxymoron could be called a sport. Similarly, trampoline was taken under the wing of the FIG, and gymnastics isn't leaving the Olympics anytime soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xctrygirl View Post
    The IOC has been having these meetings in the winter post the Olympics regularly. The aim, and this has been mentioned a ton, is to keep the games current and appealing to the people who watch and come travel to attend.
    Yes, the meetings are a regular feature of the Olympic cycle.

    No, the IOC is not trying to appeal to spectators. Not at all. In fact, the IOC has shown, Olympics after Olympics, that it doesn't even care if there are spectators. The IOC loves VIP and corporate freebie tickets, and they love special viewing areas and traffic lanes for 'dignitaries' but the IOC doesn't care about the ordinary public who might want to have a look. Athletes' families have to scrounge for tickets (and end up seated separately all over the venue), sports are played in front of rows and rows of empty seats given to the political/corporate/money folks who can't be bothered to show up, while the public gets the nosebleeds. When ticket lotteries are held for the Olympics, only a small percentage of seats are being made available to the public.

    The Olympics is a multi-year festival of construction and corruption, preceded by windfalls from TV rights and then punctuated by two weeks of sport. I can tell you first-hand how criminals -- and I mean actual criminals -- are trying to maneuver their way into the IOC because that's where the real money is.

    Unfortunately, some sports are very dependent on the Olympics for funding. The Olympics might be that small sport's only moment on the world stage, and it means everything in terms of getting funding and sanctioning from its national olympic committee and NGB. Look at the increase in funding that UK equestrian sports got after London -- and then some sports, like handball, basketball, and table tennis, lost ALL of their funding, due entirely to their Olympic performance.

    I'm predicting that wrestling will kowtow and be allowed back in for the September inclusion vote. The other sports aren't especially appealing, and wrestling does have Olympic traditions.

    The upshot around here is that suddenly 'pentathlon' is a searchable term on Google News. A TV crew is coming out to my barn tomorrow to interview to our high performance director about the future of our sport. How often does that happen in pentathlon?

    Actually, it's great timing, because the first World Cup of the season is next week in Palm Springs. As much as I'm looking forward to it, I was a bit apprehensive about the prevailing mood if the vote had gone against pentathlon, a sport which only exists because of the Olympics.




  8. #8
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    Yachting in the olympics is very different from other types of big boat yachting. Many of the divisions in yachting at the olympics are single hull one or two people boats. Olympic yachting is not big boat, America's cup type yachting. And you don't necessarily need an ocean to sail those boats on. Look up laser sailing, Finn sailing, and star sailing and you'll get an idea of olympic sailing.


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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFCeventer View Post
    it makes me crazy that everyone has the misconception that anyone riding horses in the Olympics is some wealthy, elitist person. If they had any idea how hard these people worked!
    It's okay to be both wealthy and hard-working.

    Most Olympic equestrians come from privileged backgrounds. The Olympic 'tourists' (non-competitive, qualified via continental spots) and those from the Middle East come from vast wealth.

    There are some fine example in both show jumping and dressage of rich people qualifying under dubious circumstances -- either buying the ride and pulling some odd strings (dressage) or staging private personal qualifying competitions of questionable specifications (show jumping). But this is FEI corruption and not IOC corruption, although the memberships of these orgs overlap to a distressing degree.

    The Olympics were created as a Victorian elitist fantasy. The amateur rule was really a way to keep the common rabble out of sport, as it was only the elites who could to do sport and not earn a living from it.


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmwines01 View Post
    Yachting in the olympics is very different from other types of big boat yachting. Many of the divisions in yachting at the olympics are single hull one or two people boats. Olympic yachting is not big boat, America's cup type yachting. And you don't necessarily need an ocean to sail those boats on. Look up laser sailing, Finn sailing, and star sailing and you'll get an idea of olympic sailing.
    Thank you.

    If one is to criticize a sport and stain it with the "super elitist" label, one might want to just know at least something about it.



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JER View Post
    The Olympics is a multi-year festival of construction and corruption, preceded by windfalls from TV rights and then punctuated by two weeks of sport. I can tell you first-hand how criminals -- and I mean actual criminals -- are trying to maneuver their way into the IOC because that's where the real money is.
    JER,tell me how you really feel, this seems like you pulled some punches

    Over the years I've come to see how money can really corrupt, thus alter what was a more honest activity. It is not that money is bad, surely it is needed, but there comes a point when it becomes the focus, not fuel. When that happens the sport (activity) transitions more to entertainment, not exercises of skill. Fodder for the masses to consume thus control. The modern version of bread and circus. World Cup soccer was rocked recently with over 400 arrests relating to fixing games...what can be trusted in competition anymore at the highest level?

    I ponder why, if the IOC is becoming such a den of iniquity, a sport would want to be associated with it's name. Money? Fame? Publicity? Seems to me that Reining is doing quite well outside the goomba protection of the Olympics. If sailing (aka Yachting) were removed I don't think it would effect the overall success of sailing in the world. As well, if Eventing or Dressage were dropped the sport as a whole would continue. For me, any 4* is better then the olympics, WEG has more import. The Olympic Games are a facade of their early glory; sucking life on the dreams of young wannabes that think a medal is the pinnacle of their lives.

    Other posters said this, but as a mainly retired racing sailor, Olympic "Yachting" is not an elitist sport. Like eventing, many of the people who via for a spot on the sailing team have worked hard, sailed long hours in miserable conditions, and sailed lots of crappy boats till they could get their opportunity to step up. There can always be a few privileged that make it, but money does not guarantee skill and Mother nature, like a horse, can be capricious, unforgiving, and unpredictable.



  12. #12
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    Rolex sponsors Olympic Class sailing and has for decades.

    My first cousin's husband and son are Ocean Racers, and the son is a naval architect who designs racing boats. That's where I got the idea that sail racing is just as elitist as horse sports. Both rely on a piece of relatively fragile, expensive equipment (horse, boat) that also requires expensive maintenance.

    That's not to say that sailors don't work their asses off because they do.
    Last edited by vineyridge; Feb. 13, 2013 at 11:12 AM.
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  13. #13
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    The Olympics themselves are such an odd compilation. I wish the IOC would develop a more clear "vision" of what it is the games are supposed to stand for. If it's about producing a "spectacle" and showcasing sports as entertainment, that's one angle. If it's meant to be a celebration of pure human competitiveness, quite another. Maximum visibility and profit? Another still. Each time sports are added or dropped it seems like it's done somewhat randomly. I love wrestling and think it's far more in the spirit of what *I* like about the Olympics (pure competitive endeavor) than golf or yachting or synchronized swimming.
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  14. #14
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    Viney, we quibble a bit on semantics. Elite is not a bad word and in looking at the definition, it is a complement to any sport for it recognizes the best of the best. In that regard, gymnastics, track and field, speed skating are elite sports when performed at venues like the Olympics or World Cup.

    An Elitist is one who thinks themselves superior to others in power, position, or intellect. I hardly doubt Eventing or sailing is an Elitist sport (as wrongly stated by the ESPN reporter) for the people who perform in either are elite mainly in talent, not ego.

    You are quite correct that Eventing and sailing are pretty damn expensive sports, but the cost of a sport does not make it Elite, just effects the cost of entry. Consider that to play basketball in the Olympics the cost of entry is basically to be a professional player for the NBA (referring to the US). Now THAT is elitist. I am a middle class ... urm ... mature ... guy who should save his money and not spend it on four hooves (technically 12), lots of training for only 15 minutes of effort four times a year. But the reward I gain from my time with horses and Eventing is better then anything else for were I to pass tomorrow, I'd rather have experienced life then sat on the side lines. We pay what we can and Eventing, like Sailing is one of the few sports I know where male female, rich poor, elite or beginner can compete on the same course and rub elbows in the same warm up. That is not elitist in my book and can the same be said for elitist games like Baseball or Basketball. I digress.

    I take umbrage to the term Elitist sport for it is used to denigrate, not up lift and it is used incorrectly as well. I do feel that every sport has its own elite athletes and we need them to help inspire the rest of us. There is no sense that Eventing is a superior sport to any other, just very different in that we train and compete with a non-human teammate. In that regard we are most like dog sledding



  15. #15
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    I always enjoyed the Olympics for the sports you don't get to see much. Wrestling was one of the sports that I liked to watch. Rowing (crew) is another. There decision process is all about television ratings. Does the NBA real need the olympics, they have a 82 game season followed by an interminable playoffs. So many sports have massive exposure and don't need the olympics but the olympics will keep them because of the ratings.

    I think the affiliation of eventing and the Olympics has damaged eventing so I'd be happy to see the Olympics drop eventing.
    "I couldn't find my keys, so I put her in the trunk"


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  16. #16

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    All the brouhaha over Anne Romney and her Olympic horse didn't exactly help diffuse the wealthy, elitist perception of equestrian sport did it?



  17. #17
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    FWIW, I heard a report last night that the likely reason wrestling got chopped instead of pentathalon is that someone on the IOC board is also vice-president of the International Modern Pentathalon Union.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/sports...,1157345.story



  18. #18

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    There you have it!

    Quote Originally Posted by baxtersmom View Post
    FWIW, I heard a report last night that the likely reason wrestling got chopped instead of pentathalon is that someone on the IOC board is also vice-president of the International Modern Pentathalon Union.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/sports...,1157345.story



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by baxtersmom View Post
    FWIW, I heard a report last night that the likely reason wrestling got chopped instead of pentathalon is that someone on the IOC board is also vice-president of the International Modern Pentathalon Union.
    There are 14 voting members on the IOC Executive Board. ALL of them have deep ties to at least one sport. For example, one is on the board of Taekwondo. There's a former FINA VP, someone who sits on multiple boards for the IAAF, a FIFA organizer, etc. FILA, the wrestling IGB, isn't represented, however.

    The voting, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, shows that a bloc came in quite determined to oust wrestling, and then managed to get more votes to give it the axe.

    Wrestling claims it had no foreknowledge of this, which is very surprising. A reporter who's been talking to wrestling officials (national/international) told me that they've all expressed total shock. The topic never came up at recent international competitions. They're hoping that some of their big-money sponsors (who also sponsor the Olympics) will have some influence in getting them back into the fold in the September vote.

    The other thing that everyone agrees on is that the IOC is completely corrupt and only about money.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by flutie1 View Post
    All the brouhaha over Anne Romney and her Olympic horse didn't exactly help diffuse the wealthy, elitist perception of equestrian sport did it?
    My DH is fond of saying "Be careful of unintended consquences". Much of what was said during the past campaign, some of which was said on COTH, painted all of us with the same brush.
    One constant throught-out my life is the majority of people consider me wealthy when they discover I have a horse. Even though is it embarrassingly apparent that the person assuming "my vast wealth" is often better dressed and better housed than me.

    My ex-DH loved sailing as much as I love horses. Thanks to my time with him I learned sailors are like us hard-working, dedicated and passionate about their sport. Also like horsemen, sailors are from all walks of life, economic levels and ages.

    As to wrestling in the Olympics it is one of my favorite sports. It is one of the purest sports out there. It will be a shame if it is actually removed from the games. And another nail in the coffin of the 'modern' games.
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
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