Wrestling’s impact on possible 2020 Hosts

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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:

Turkey
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

Japan
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.

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon

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Watch the world’s best distance runners chase world records at the London Marathon, live on NBCSN and commercial free on the NBC Sports Gold “Track and Field Pass” for subscribers on Sunday at 3:30 a.m. ET.

NBCSN coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon
NBCSN coverage — STREAM LINK
NBC Sports Gold commercial free — STREAM LINK

Sunday’s race start times (ET)
3:55 – Elite Wheelchair Races
4:00 – World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup ambulant races
4:15 – Elite Women’s Race
5:00 – Elite Men’s Race, Mass Race

The men’s field features arguably the two greatest distance runners of all time — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele.

Kipchoge, the Rio Olympic marathon champ, ran the fastest marathon ever recorded — 2:00:25 in Nike’s sub-two-hour attempt last May in non-record-eligible conditions.

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history under legal conditions, having run six seconds shy of Kenyan Dennis Kimetto‘s world record of 2:02:57 from 2014.

In the women’s race, Kenyan Mary Keitany, already the world-record holder in a women’s-only race, looks to take down Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s world record with male pacers set in London 15 years ago. That time is 2:15:25.

Keitany is challenged by Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, the third-fastest female marathoner in history behind Keitany and Radcliffe.

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Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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