Olympics may not be in the future for some high school wrestlers

By Beau Ebenezer

February 15, 2013 Updated Feb 15, 2013 at 11:00 PM CDT

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- For many young wrestlers, going professional was never really an option.

Now after a vote by the International Olympic Committee, becoming a national legend in their favorite sport seems even less likely.

"Wrestling in the Olympics has been around since the beginning," said Farmington wrestler, Brenden Jostes. "It's one against one and man against man. It is a respectable sport, so I don't see why they are getting rid of it."

On Tuesday, Olympic committee leaders dropped wrestling from their 25 core sports for the 2020 games, changing a tradition that dates back to 1896 with the modern inaugural Olympics in Athens.

"There's other sports that they have brought in that they didn't even blink an eye at," said Farmington Wrestling Head Coach, Ron Zessin. "I would like to think they will reinstate it and make a second call on it."

Wrestling has applied for inclusion in 2020 along with seven other sports like baseball and softball.

The executive board for the International Olympic Committee will meet in May to decide which sport or sports to propose for 2020 inclusion. The final vote will be made in September.

However, many high school wrestlers are questioning how detrimental the decision will be to the sport overall.

State qualifying wrestler, Lucas Joseph, from East Peoria is one athlete against the vote.

"A big part of it is that we don't have a professional level to go to," said Joseph. "It's not like football where you can dream of going to the NFL. This is where kids dream of going, and I think it is going to hurt the sport of wrestling world-wide."

More than 300 wrestlers competed in last year's London Olympics. Now it's all up to the executive board whether wrestling fans will see grappling on the mats in seven years.

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