Local USA Wrestling ties react to IOC decision
That dream, for many, has been cut short for at least four years.
CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WRCB) -- The window of opportunity for greatness when it comes to wrestling is small.
The ultimate goal is not a multi-million dollar paycheck or red carpet appearances, it's to represent your nation at the Olympics.
That dream for many has been cut short for at least four years.
"People think of the Olympics. The original, you had running and you had wrestling. It doesn't. The logic: it's totally illogical that you drop that sport," says McCallie wrestling coach and former Team USA Olympic videographer, Gordon Connell.
Connell was floored by the IOC's decision to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympic games.
The 15 member board, none of which included representation from wrestling, chose to drop wrestling over the pentathlon.
Connell says, "You have 180 countries in the world that wrestle, 27 modern pentathlon. I would venture to say that 99.8 percent of the world's population hasn't got a clue what the modern pentathlon is."
It's fencing, horse riding, swimming, running and shooting. Like wrestling it also ranked low in global TV audience at the London Olympics.
Coach Connell says he understands other sports like golf, new in 2016, and basketball can bring in more money, but says that's not what the Olympics should be about.
"I guarantee you the IOC will take the money, no doubt about it," he says. "But going back to modern pentathlon, where's the money there."
The International Wrestling Federation (FILA) has appealed the decision. Wrestling will join a list of eight trying to gain one spot in the 2020 Olympics. The list includes baseball, softball, karate, squash, roller sports, climbing, wake boarding and wushu.
Connell is openly questioning the integrity of the IOC. Connell says wrestling is not only one of the original Olympic sports, but it's unlike so many they have added.
"I have a problem with other sports, like golf, tennis and even cycling, where the Olympics aren't their ultimate goal," Connell says. "Where as with wrestling you've got millions of wrestlers and that's their dream, to be an Olympic medalist or even an Olympian."
Connell, like many Channel 3 talked to, including former UTC assistant and Olympic silver medalist Sammie Henson say, they're optimistic wrestling will return to the Olympics.
When is the question. We'll know in the coming months if it will be 2020.