Decision stunned wrestlers

Ask anyone at the West Virginia state mat tournament their opinion about the International Olympic Committee’s decision to remove wrestling from the Olympic games and the reaction is quick and stern.

Veteran official George Keeney offered a descriptive adjective I’ll leave out in his quip “I think it’s a disgrace.”

Former Huntington High School head wrestling coach Bill Archer was quite poignant.

“It is pretty sad,” Archer stated matter of factly. “It’s the only sport mentioned in the Bible.”

Everyone is still in disbelief such a process of thought ever could take place, but it has. However, many are also hopeful the decision only will be a short-lived one as the backlash nationwide and from various countries continues to mount on a daily basis.

Talk about being up inarms, just go listen to some of the interviews former Olympian Ken Chertow has done.

I tend to agree and sure hope he is correct when he said “there is no way our wrestling community will accept this recommendation by the IOC executive board.

“This is a battle we can win and I expect wrestling will remain an Olympic sport in 2020 and forever.”

I was discussing the issue with Dr. Bill Welker, who is the Mountain State’s rules interpreter, and he is never afraid to tell it like it is.

“There are 200 countries that have wrestling,” he said. “It’s the only time Iran and the USA will agree on something. They have something in common and I think it will be back.”

While talking with Welker, he also mentioned a quote by Plato which he felt suited wrestlers. Anyone who knows a wrestler, especially one who takes it seriously, understands the love, desire and dedication they bring forth on the mat. Usually, that also shows itself in the classroom in the sense of being a true student-athlete.

“He who is an athlete only is too crude, too vulgar. He who is a scholar only is too soft. The ideal citizen is the scholar athlete, a person of thought and a person of action.” – Plato.

Parkersburg South assistant wrestling coach Dean Moore also brought up an interesting point about the situation, which I doubt few members on the IOC executive board even thought about.

“It completely floored me,” Moore said when he heard about the plans of the IOC. “This is probably the biggest sport across America for young kids.”

Sure, some kids might not take wrestling as serious as others, but for the ones who do the IOC is basically stealing their dreams.

I did a story a couple years back on Junior Patriot Braxton Amos and current Wood County 95-pound champion Hunter Moore of Wirt County when they each won the Trinity Award. Both of these wrestlers have the drive, desire and hope of perhaps one day being an Olympic grappler. Although Dean Moore thinks the push to get the sport back in will ultimately succeed, if it doesn’t then for kids like Moore and Amos “their goals are shot.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com