Yesterday, members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) convened in order to decide which of the 26 core Olympic sports would be dropped from the 2020 summer games in order to make room for the inclusion of a new sport. Everybody thought that the IOC was going to bring the axe down on modern pentathlon, because modern pentathlon is kind of dumb. Instead, the committee decided to kill wrestling, a sport that has been part of the Olympics since 1896 and has given us some of the most memorable Olympic moments.
So, what gives? Why would the IOC abandon one of the best sports the Olympics has to offer? Perhaps they had some insight that the rest of us don't, or access to metrics that showed them that wrestling's time as an Olympic sport had to come to an end.
The board voted after reviewing a report by the IOC program commission report that analyzed 39 criteria, including television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity. With no official rankings or recommendations contained in the report, the final decision by the 15-member board was also subject to political, emotional and sentimental factors.
Right. So the IOC had access to a report that contained all kinds of important data that was never actually distilled into anything useful and then voted with sentimental, political, and emotional factors in mind. Seems like a good way to run an international sporting event.
And what of modern pentathlon? What did the boosters behind that sport do to ensure that it stayed in the Olympics?
Klaus Schormann, president of governing body UIPM, lobbied hard to protect his sport's Olympic status and it paid off in the end.
"We have promised things and we have delivered," he said after Tuesday's decision. "That gives me a great feeling. It also gives me new energy to develop our sport further and never give up."
Bribes. He's probably talking about bribes.