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Wrestling powerhouse usa stunned by IOC stand

The move is set to take effect for the 2020 Olympics and eliminates a sport that has been a staple of both the ancient and modern games. Though wrestling's chances of making it back onto the Olympic program by 2020 are considered slim, the sport has two chances left to stop the drop.

According to former Olympic champion and current Iowa coach Tom Brands, the international wrestling community needs to band together and fight for the sport's Olympic future.  ‘You have to get people behind you, you have to do it smart,’ he said. ‘You have to do it educated, you have to do it professionally, and you have to do it with some muscle, as well.’

The decision by the IOC to phase out wrestling will leave the US without one of its most successful Olympic sports. The only sports in which the Americans have won more medals than wrestling is swimming and track and field, and those two have far more medal opportunities.

Americans have won a record 113 freestyle Olympic medals, by far the most of any nation. Though the US had slipped in recent Olympic cycles, it bounced back with a pair of London Games gold medallists in Jordan Burroughs -- possibly the best wrestler in the world -- and Jake Varner. Wrestling is also one of the most popular youth sports in the US The National Federation of State High School Associations reports that the sport was sixth among prep boys with nearly 275,000 competing in 2010-11.

‘It just made me sick to think that the opportunity for 14, 15, 16-year-old kids who have thoughts about being an Olympic champion is erased. I was on the phone a lot (Tuesday) with not just people in this country, but all over the world. We're all ready to stand together,’ Oklahoma State coach and two-time Olympic gold medallist John Smith said. A Facebook page titled `Keep Wrestling in Olympics’ was started on Tuesday and had nearly 34,000 likes by the end of the day.
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