The battle to save Olympic wrestling is not over, but the first major challenge to getting back in the Games has been cleared.
In a vote Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended three sports to be shortlisted for inclusion in the 2020 Games: wrestling, baseball and softball and squash. A final vote will be held in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the three final sports will present their case before the IOC General Assembly. Only one sport can be introduced into the 2020 Games.
The sports that presented their case Wednesday, but did not make the shortlist include karate, wushu, roller sports, sport climbing and wakeboarding.
FILA, the international governing body of wrestling, presented the case on Wednesday before the IOC EB on behalf of wrestling. FILA President Nenad Lalovic of Serbia was joined by four previous Olympic wrestlers: Jim Scherr of the U.S., Carol Huynh of Canada, Daniel Igali of Nigeria and Canada and Lise Legrand of France.
"While our place in the Olympic Games is still not guaranteed, this decision recognizes the great lengths to which we are going to reform our sport and address the IOC's concerns," President Lalovic said in a FILA statement.
"At FILA's recent Extraordinary Congress we enacted a number of rule and governance changes and we hope that our continued efforts will ensure we are successful at the final vote in September. We recognize that there is still a long road ahead but we will continue to work to preserve our place in the Olympic Games."
Wrestling was recommended for removal as a core sport from the 2020 Olympic Games on February 12 by the EB of the IOC.