Former coach reacts to IOC wrestling decision
BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
Wyoming County Press Examiner
The International Olympic Committee recommended last week that wrestling be dropped as an Olympic sport starting in 2020.
And the decision has left one longtime wrestling coach/referee in Wyoming County bewildered.
Frank Wadas, of Tunkhannock, who coached at Tunkhannock Area for 36 years up until 2005 and is a member of the Pennsylvania Wrestling State Hall of Fame, said the IOC’s decision is “almost unbelievable.”
“The tradition of the sport in the Olympics goes way back,” Wadas said. “I know it doesn’t have as much popularity as basketball or some other sports, but around the world it is well represented.”
At this point, the decision is not final, and many are rallying to keep wrestling in 2020’s 28-sport Olympic Games.
However, if the decision does go through next fall, Wadas feels it will have a ripple-down effect.
“I think it’s a letdown to aspiring wrestlers,” Wadas said. ‘The Olympics is the main thing wrestlers strive for other than NCAA’s.”
Wadas said that competing in the Olympics the “ultimate” for wrestlers.
At area schools, high school wrestling numbers have declined in recent years, and Wadas feels that the IOC’s decision takes some of the prestige out of the sport.
“It’s just one more knock on the sport,” Wadas said. “The Olympics was the ultimate, and now you take that way.”
Wadas said he can’t see one good reason why the IOC made the recommendation.
“There were no good reasons that I can see,” Wadas said. “I understand that in the United States it’s not the most popular, but there are certainly sports staying in the games that I feel have less of a following.”
Wadas said he felt that wrestling was starting to get more coverage recently with ESPN broadcasting NCAA Division I wrestling.
“Most wrestling people through that it would never get cancelled from the Olympics,” Wadas said. “I just hope something can be done.”