Matt Kryger-USA TODAY Sports

How wrestling can get back in the Olympics

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Wrestling was effectively ousted from the 2020 Olympics schedule in an IOC executive committee vote Tuesday at the headquarters in Switzerland, but that doesn’t mean it’s down for the count. The sport can actually gain a reprieve if it can survive two more IOC votes in the upcoming months.

“This is not the end of the process, this is purely a recommendation,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters after the executive board vote. “It is the session which is sovereign.”

It’s going to take a little convincing, though.

The IOC will now put wrestling up against the seven other sports that have fought long and hard to be added to the schedule, including karate, squash, roller sports, wakeboarding, sport climbing, the chinese martial art of wushu, and baseball and softball in a joint bid.

The first vote will take place among the executive board in St. Petersburg in May, which is a great omen since Russia has won the most wrestling medals at every Olympics since it first began competing as an independent nation at the 1996 Olympics.  But that vote will simply determine which sports will be proposed for the final vote among all the IOC members at a vote in Buenos Aires this September.

Each of the other proposed sports have had months, if not years, to literally pitch themselves to the IOC members (squash was arguably the most convincing), so if wrestling wants to win the vote, the governing body will no doubt have to lean on powerhouses like Russia, Japan and the U.S. for a bit of back room politicking to see if they can’t sway the members in their direction.

It’s not likely to happen, since the IOC executive committee’s decision holds a lot of clout, but if wrestling has anything on its side, it the sport’s history and worldwide popularity. Wrestling has been contested at all but one Olympics since 1896 (it took a quick break in 1900) and has seen more than fifty nations represented at every Summer Games since 1992, including a staggering 75 in Atlanta.

Wrestling fans can also look to baseball and softball for inspiration, since their bid is considered the front runner for the open spot in 2020 after both were similarly voted out in 2005 and were last contested at the Beijing Games in 2008.

Katie Ledecky throws first pitch as Bryce Harper holds medals (video)

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Katie Ledecky‘s first pitch at a Washington Nationals game Wednesday was an easy strike. Taking care of her medals, however, was a bit more time-consuming.

Near the mound before the pitch, it took Ledecky 25 seconds to take off each of her five 2016 Olympic medals from around her neck and hand them to reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper.

“We kind of planned that,” Ledecky said in a TV interview. “When I got to the park today, I proposed that idea. I guess Bryce offered. He wanted to be the one that held them.”

Ledecky, a native of Bethesda, Maryland, previously threw first pitches at Nationals Park after her first Olympic title in 2012, when she was 15 years old, and at the start of the 2014 playoffs.

Ledecky is leaving the D.C. area to begin classes at Stanford. She is expected to swim collegiately this season. The first meet is Sept. 25.

VIDEO: Lochte ‘guarantees’ Phelps will compete at 2020 Olympics

Michael Phelps co-hosts ‘America’s Got Talent’ (video)

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Michael Phelps co-hosted “America’s Got Talent” with Nick Cannon on NBC on Wednesday, taking a seat between judges Mel B and Heidi Klum, three days after the Rio Olympic Closing Ceremony.

Phelps said he and his fianceé, Nicole, watch the show regularly after dinner.

Cannon asked Phelps to reflect on completing his career with 23 Olympic gold medals.

“At that moment was when all the emotions came out, because I was finally happy with everything that I did in my career, and I was able to retire how I wanted to,” Phelps said. “But, most importantly, I had our first child in the stands there watching the race. He wasn’t always awake, but it’s a completely different experience being able to look up and see your baby boy up there after a race.”

The whole episode is here.

VIDEO: Lochte ‘guarantees’ Phelps will compete at 2020 Olympics