We’ve seen a more than passionate response from American wrestling fans after Tuesday’s recommendation by the IOC to eliminate the sport from the 2020 Olympics program. But the outrage has stretched worldwide, and it just so happens that wrestling is a major sport for two of the three countries bidding to host the 2020 Olympics, likely the first Games without the sport since 1900.
Here’s a quick look at the nations:
Possible host city: Istanbul
Population: Roughly 73 million
Wrestling medals: 58, including 28 gold
Sport’s success ranking: First, national sport
Athletes in London: 13, tied for third most
Notable response: “It is plain wrong to drop wrestling, which is one of the main branches in Olympics. Combat sports have similar struggles. Sports with more glamour are preferred nowadays. But I believe the decision must be reviewed.” – Turkish Wrestling Federation Chairman Hamza Yerlikaya
Possible host city: Tokyo
Population: Roughly 127 million
Wrestling medals: 62, including 28 gold
Sport’s success ranking: Third, behind only judo and gymnastics
Athletes in London: 13, tied for third most
Notable response: “The final verdict has not been made… Everything will depend on our efforts and actions from now. We have been in the Olympics from the start, so there was always the feeling of reassurance that it was a key sport.” – Japan Wrestling Federation President Tomiaki Fukuda
And while wrestling isn’t a major sport in Spain, which hopes to host the Games in Madrid, Maider Unda won the country its first Olympic wrestling medal last summer in London.
If it is eligible for the Rio Olympics, Russia’s track and field federation (ARAF) said Tuesday it will not send any athletes convicted of doping in previous years to the Games.
The move was made as Russia’s track and field federation hopes to be reinstated to international competition on June 17 after it was suspended indefinitely in November for doping violations.
“The ARAF presidium has introduced amendments to the criteria of selecting athletes who will go to the Olympics,” a statement read Tuesday, according to a Russian news agency TASS translation. “The list of requirements now contains a special clause saying that any potential participant in the Olympics who proved to have used doping in the previous years cannot be a member of the Russian national team. The ARAF made this harsh decision for the sole purpose of doing its utmost to let clean athletes participate in the Olympics.”
The statement came after Russia media reported 11 Russian track and field athletes from the 2008 Beijing Games, including eight medalists, are among 31 athletes from 12 nations across six sports whose 2008 doping samples retested recently came up positive.
London Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova is on that list of 11 athletes.
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London Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova is one of many Russians among 31 athletes overall who tested positive in recent retests of Beijing Olympic samples, according to Russian news agency TASS.
TASS named nine 2008 Olympic medalists among 14 Russian athletes, citing a Russian TV report, including eight medalists in track and field, with Chicherova being the superstar of the group.
“Three days ago, Anna received a notice that her doping sample from the Beijing Olympic tested positive after a re-check, and she called me,” Chicherova’s coach said, according to TASS. “So far, this is at the development stage and this has not yet been finally confirmed. But all are aware of this and are dealing with the issue.”
Last week, the International Olympic Committee said 31 unnamed athletes from 12 nations across six sports failed drug tests in retesting of 454 samples from 2008 using the latest drug-testing methods.
Chicherova, 33, took high jump gold at the London Games and bronze in Beijing. She is one of two track and field athletes to earn an individual-event medal at the last five World Championships and last two Olympics. The other is Usain Bolt.
Chicherova, who has had no previously widespread reported doping history, would be one of Russia’s top Olympic track and field medal hopes in Rio, should the ban on Russian track and field athletes competing be lifted before the Games.
Russia is expected to learn if it will be allowed to send a track and field team to Rio on June 17.
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