The IOC has voted to remove wrestling from the Olympics, to be replaced with a new sport in the 2020 games. I can’t say I’ve ever watched Olympic wrestling, but I approve of it. The point of the Olympics is elemental trials of athleticism; running, jumping, lifting, gymnastics. And wrestling.
Here is how you tell whether a sport belongs in the Olympics. Does it have a strategy? Then it doesn’t belong in the Olympics. The strategy for an Olympic sport should be “be stronger or faster than your opponent.”
OK, yes, I know wrestling has strategies. It’s a border case.
The point is that an Olympics which has golf and rugby but doesn’t have wrestling is moving away from being the Olympics. Which is why it’s of paramount importance which sport the IOC chooses to replace wrestling in 2020. Fortunately, there’s one sport which typifies the Olympic ideal, which already has a rich history in the Games, and which is currently unfairly excluded. And that is tug of war.
Tug of war is doing great in India. It’s doing great in Ireland. And the 2014 outdoor world championships are being held here in Madison, a suitable consolation prize for the cycling events we didn’t get when Chicago lost its Olympic bid.
Tug of war! You pull as hard as you can. If you pull harder than the other country, you win. If the other country pulls harder than you, you fall down. That’s Olympics.