The Summer Olympics happens every 4 years...
Wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the Olympics.
Yes... That old.
Yet things took a turn for the worst.
How could that be?
In 2013 the IOC Executive Board recommended wrestling be dropped.
“We were greatly astonished by today’s recommendation of the IOC Executive Board not to maintain wrestling among the 25 core sports for the 2020 Olympic Games. We will take all necessary measures to convince the IOC Executive Board and IOC members of the aberration of such decision against one of the founding sports of the ancient and modern Olympic Games.”
Nenad Lalovic, President of the UWW stated,
"Normally this is done in a few years, we did it in a few months. It was a question of our survival. We did all we could, we changed our sport and the federation was successful. We continue to work tomorrow.”
Some of the sports literally had to fight to be recognized.
Taekwondo started striving for the Olympics in 1974. In 1975 it was accepted for the World Games which is an international competition that recognizes non-Olympic sports. In the 1988 Korean Olympics and the 1992 Barcelona Spain Olympics it was a demonstration sport. At this time Taekwondo was already recognized by the World Cup, The Asian Games, All-Africa Games, and the Pan American Games but the Olympics wouldn’t accept it until the 2000 Sydney Australia Olympics.
One of the requirements to become an Olympic Sport is
To have a recognized international committee that oversees the sport, thus ensuring all athletes are competing under the same rules and regulations.
Tragically over the years it has been almost impossible to unite the organizations.
At this point of time the World Union of Karate-do Organization or WUKO, attempted to unify with the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF) to form the World Karate Federation, in hopes to finally become an Olympic Sport. The union was unsuccessful, causing the IOC to suspend its recognition of WUKO. When the union was unsuccessful the WUKO created the World Karate Federation or WKF.
It was finally in 2016, in Rio de Janeiro that the IOC announced that Karate would be a recognized and participating sport in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan
The politics and drama associated with organized sports can be trying at times.
As a Kenpoist, I tend to view my system more as a self-defense system rather than a sporting system like Judo. Nonetheless, I always find myself watching the Judo, the Taekwondo and the Wrestling because these athletes are not just representing their sport and country…
They are representing our community.
It’s another 4 years before the next Olympic Games and the Karate Community is already buzzing about the Tokyo Games and we should be happy for them because it has taken so many years and so much dedication to reach this point.
But let’s not forget, it’s not guaranteed that the Martial Arts will continue in the Olympics…
Especially if we don't support them.