Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld pleads for wrestling to be returned to Olympic roster

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is up in arms: not about guns, but about the International Olympic Committee’s announcement that wrestling will be cut from the 2020 Olympic Games.

A former wrestler, Rumsfeld even felt called to pen an open letter to the IOC pleading the sport’s case.

Wrestling, he argued, “is unlike any other athletic activity” and “to abandon this great Olympic legacy would be a tragedy for the sport and for the proud tradition of the Olympic Games.”

Calling on tradition as another reason to keep the sport in the Olympic lineup, Rumsfeld wrote “it is undoubtedly the oldest of contact sports, its lineage dating back to before the first ancient Olympic competition two and a half millennia ago.”

Rumsfeld also admitted to his bias in the letter and even touted his 11-year-long wrestling career mentioning that he wrestled in high school, college, and the Navy from 1946 to 1957.

The IOC decided to drop the sport because of its lack of popularity and poor participation.

Rumsfeld clearly does not agree.

h/t The Daily Caller

Comments

Comments

  1. Chris Como says:

    “The IOC decided to drop the sport because of its lack of popularity and poor participation.” Well, you certainly did not do your homework before you dropped that last sentence in your article, Ms. Byrne. Wrestling is undoubtedly one of the most popular sports Worldwide and especially in our Country. 71 Countries fielded a wrestler in the London games. In countries such as Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Japan…it is one of the National sports. One of the only medals won by India in the 2012 games was in Wrestling. The United States holds the most number of medals won by any Country in the sport of Wrestling with 125. There are over a million Wrestlers in the US alone, from youth age to Collegiate athletes. So please, the next time you decide to make a broad brush statement portraying the World’s Oldest sport in a negative light…please do some fact checking first. Obliged…

    1. Cristian says:

      Actually Ms Byrne was not herself saying wresting lacked participation, but that’s the reasoning the IOC gave. I am dumbfounded, along with you at this decision. I do agree that maybe she could have done some research herself and provided some statistics.

    2. D.J. says:

      Chris, if you knew anything about the IOC’s reasons or read any of the other articles, you would know that Ms. Byrne last sentence came directly from the IOC as their reason to drop wrestling; those are their words, not hers. So before you jump on someone make sure you do some fact checking and have all the information first.

    3. oscar sanchez says:

      Ms. Byrne; The international Wrestling Federation has almost 200 afilieted countries; wrestling is active in the whole 5 continents; as Chris says, “there are over a million wrestlers in usa”, but even more in Russia and other countries. Maybe it’s not a big deal if we compars to basketball, soccer, Athletics, Swimming, or the ten bigger sports. But how many olympic sports have the same figures??? In the olympic world, wrestling is a big sport, with a brilliants past, present and futur

    4. meghan says:

      Chris, that’s what the IOC claimed was the reason for dropping wrestling. “Lack of popularity and poor participation” are not her words but in fact those of the IOC. Wrestling is incredibly popular and the fact that pentathlon, a sport that combines fencing, horse riding, swimming, running and shooting (and is widely more unpopular), was chosen in place of wrestling just proves the IOC has other reasons they are not voicing. According to this article, http://espn.go.com/olympics/wrestling/story/_/id/8939185/ioc-drops-wrestling-2020-olympics :

      “According to IOC documents obtained by the AP, wrestling ranked “low” in several of the technical criteria, including popularity with the public at the London Games — just below 5 on a scale of 10. Wrestling also ranked “low” in global TV audience with a maximum of 58.5 million viewers and an average of 23 million, the documents show. Internet hits and press coverage were also ranked as low.The IOC also noted that FILA — the international wrestling federation — has no athletes on its decision-making bodies, no women’s commission, no ethics rules for technical officials and no medical official on its executive board.”

      So it seems in fact she did do her research and you did not. Before you go around being a dick on the internet, do a little reading first. OBLIGED.

  2. Pete Mecham says:

    Chris, that’s not her line, that a line from the IOC as to why they dropped wrestling.

  3. Sherman says:

    The author is correct when she stated the reason why the IOC decided to drop wrestling. They cited factors such as popularity, tv audience, and ticket sales as some of the reasons behind their decision. So before you go on a rant aggresively accusing somebody of making “broad brush statements” maybe you should do your own fact checking.

  4. Rich Vigorito says:

    The statement: “The IOC decided to drop the sport because of its lack of popularity and poor participation.” is absurd, insulting, in-factual and irresponsible.

    Wrestling had participants from 71 countries. Out of the 25 olympic sports that trailed only track & field and swimming.

    The ratio of countries to win a medal from the field of countries in that sport, wrestling was the best… out of all sports.

    In the united states there are a million wrestlers alone. How many modern pentathon, trampoline, synchronized swimming, dressage “atheletes” are there even in the entire world? All these sports .. less than a million each.

    Speaking of the fringe sports listed above. Wrestling is the national sport of Iran, Azerbiajan, Turkey, Belarus. Trampolen, while popular by grade school kids around the united states on a care-free summer ‘s day, hardly is a global sport.

    Beyond all those talking points which definitely should of been researched, the fact that you say that the IOC stated that popularity as the reason for cutting wrestling too is incorrect. The IOC said no such thing. In fact the IOC had a secret ballot to cut and reasons for cutting were fairly vague. Also the IOC has been fairly quiet about their reasons and the process. The IOC did go on the record as saying this:

    “It’s not a case of what’s wrong with wrestling, It’s what’s right with the 25 core sports.” — IOC spokesman Mark Adams

    So I have a problem with that fact no research was done to validate **YOUR** claim of wrestling’s “unpopularity.” It’s also troubling that you stated that the IOC used unpopularity as the reason for cutting. Which we just pointed out was **YOUR** claim!!

  5. Josh R says:

    Chris, wrestling being competed in over 71 nations has no bearing on its popularity. Wrestling is not a popular sport. That is to say, it is not held in the mainstream. There are small groups of individuals in most of the nations that appreciate wrestling, but not the vast majority of the population. Think of it this way, if it was popular we would be seeing large revenue for the sport, however, as you know, that is not the case. I wrestled in a high school that had a student population of 4000+ students, yet the team was averaged only 20 members. An insignificant percentage. (the size of the team did not reflect our uncompetitiveness, we were league champs 3 of the four years I was there, took home the trophy from many dual tournaments, and individuals consistently placed in major tournaments)

  6. dan says:

    Laura,
    You are an idiot if you think “poor participation” is the reason for the IOC recommendation. Russia has ten million wrestlers; Iran has 5 million; the U.S. has one million at all levels. The sport is practiced in nearly 200 countries overall.

    1. Frank says:

      I agree.. Laura is clearly an IDIOT…

  7. Shawn McCourt says:

    Please do your homework next time you write an article. It takes very little knowledge of the subject to realize nobody especially the IOC has ever mentioned anything about lack of popularity or participation.

  8. Tyler says:

    No offense, but did you not even bother googling the incident? Wrestling is only second to soccer, with every culture in the world hold some tradition of wrestling. Not trying to be a jerk (really), but if you are a writer, this is disconcerting to say the least.

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