IOC president to meet with head of wrestling's governing body
BY STEPHEN WILSON Associated Press
Thursday, February 14, 2013
2/14/13 at 6:35 AM
Related Story: John Klein: By cutting wrestling, IOC makes a serious blunder
Original Print Headline: IOC head to meet with wrestling oversight body
LAUSANNE, Switzerland - Facing a wave of criticism from around the world, IOC President Jacques Rogge will meet with the head of wrestling's governing body to discuss ways the sport can fight to save its place in the Olympics.
The IOC executive board dropped wrestling from the program of the 2020 Games on Tuesday, a decision that brought a sharp backlash from wrestling organizations and national Olympic bodies around the world - including the United States, Russia and Iran.
The move must still be ratified by the full International Olympic Committee in September, giving wrestling time to try to overturn a decision against a sport which dates back to the ancient Olympics and has been featured since the inaugural modern games in 1896.
Rogge said Wednesday he has been contacted by Raphael Martinetti, the Swiss president of international wrestling federation FILA, and was encouraged by the sport's resolve to make changes and fight for its place.
"We agreed we would meet at the first opportunity to have discussions," Rogge said at a news conference at the close of a two-day board meeting.
Wrestling, which remains on the program for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, still has a chance to stay on the list for 2020 - if it manages to convince the IOC to reverse course.
"This is not the end of the day. The door is not closed," IOC Vice President Thomas Bach of Germany said. "It's good to see the reaction of FILA to say, 'OK we have understood, we have to do something and we will present a plan for the future of wrestling.' That is the right attitude."
Wrestling now joins seven other sports vying for one opening on the 2020 program: a combined bid from baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and the martial art of wushu.
The IOC executive board will meet in May in St. Petersburg, Russia, to decide which sport or sports to propose for 2020 inclusion. The final vote will be made at the IOC general assembly in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
IOC President Jacques Rogge will meet with the head of wrestling's governing body to discuss ways the sport can possibly stay in the Olympics. LAURENT GILLIERON/Keystone/AP