Wrestling Is Closer To Getting Back In The Olympics (Baseball Too!)

In February it was announced that wrestling would be dropped from the Olympics starting in 2020. But at a meeting of the IOC executive board today, three sports were shortlisted to gain inclusion beginning at those same 2020 games—and good old wrestling is among them.

There weren't a lot of answers when wrestling shockingly got the axe. A popular theory was that FILA, the governing body, didn't lobby hard enough—those IOC types like their wining and dining and hookers. It was also brought up that Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. sits on the board of the modern pentathlon federation, which probably would have faced the cut had wrestling not gone.

Whatever the reason, FILA has undergone a dramatic overhaul in an attempt to get itself back in the games. Women and athletes will now have spots on the board. The format of matches will change from three two-minute periods to two three-minute periods. Scoring will be cumulative instead of best-of-three.

The changes appear to have made an impact. From the list of eight sports up for consideration, three have been short-listed: wrestling, squash, and a combined baseball-softball bid. (Baseball and softball, as separate sports, were eliminated after the 2008 Olympics.)

Those that did not make the cut: karate, climbing, roller sports, wakeboarding, and wushu.

After a months-long push that united the wrestling nations of Iran, Russia, and the U.S., FILA members erupted in jubilation after the announcement was made. The final vote will be held in September at the IOC session, at which time either Tokyo, Istanbul, or Madrid will be named the 2020 Olympic host.