Wrestling's future shaky in Olympic Games

February 12, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A big announcement Tuesday, a plan to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games.

The International Olympic Committee says wrestling will stay in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro but its future is uncertain.

The International Olympic Committee known as the IOC has said it wants to draw in a younger audience with more popular sports.

But Valley wrestlers are upset they're choosing one of the oldest sports in Olympic history to cut.

This is a piece of history earned by Stephen Abas at the highest level of his sport.

In 2004, Abas placed silver at the Olympic Games in Athens.

"Wrestling really took me places that I never thought I would be able to go," Abas said.

Before he took the international stage Abas trained right here in the Valley.

"People said I had flow and it was just a fluid motion about myself, constant offense and getting attacks off," Abas said.

Now he and his former coach are upset wrestling may be cut in 2020.

"It was really disturbing to me, the first thing I thought of was the future of these kids that have been training their whole lives to get to that point," Abas said.

"It's terrible, I mean it's like you get your legs chopped off from underneath you. It's a very depressing feeling, very depressing."

We caught up with former Fresno State wrestling coach Dennis Dellido who was still trying to process the news while catching a match at home.

Dellido headed Fresno State's wrestling team for 24 years.

Now the IOC's decision is one he thinks will hurt wrestling programs across the country.

Dellido said, "Wrestling is a great educational tool for kids, teaches them how to compete, teaches them how to be tough."

On Tuesday, McLane High's team says they were also disappointed with the decision.

But even older athletes like MMA fighter Chris Honeycutt who went to college on a full-wrestling scholarship are upset and sad for his former teammates.

"That's their dream to represent our country and they got that taken away from them and it's sad."

Now we should mention Fresno State cut the wrestling program in 2006 because of a tight budget.

And there is a chance that the IOC can reverse the plan to cut wrestling after another meeting in May, so there is still a chance wrestlers will compete in 2020.


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