Tahlequah Daily Press

High School Sports

February 13, 2013

Wrestling notables voice anger over Olympic snub

STILLWATER — The Olympics are turning its back on the roots of the Games, as the International Olympic Committee shocked the sporting world Tuesday by voting to cut wrestling from the Olympics starting in 2020.

“It’s devastating. I’ve never been directly involved in the Olympic part of wrestling ... but in one fell swoop to take that all away, I’m afraid to even think that it may be the beginning of the end of the sport I’ve spent my entire life being a part of,” said Stillwater High wrestling coach Doug Chesbro, son of former Oklahoma State wrestling coach Tommy Chesbro.

“I hope that I’m wrong. I absolutely hope that I’m wrong, but the bringing down of an empire has to start with one small chink in the armor — and this is a pretty big blow.”

The decision was made via secret ballot during a Tuesday meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, where officials were discussing ways to “streamline” the Olympics.

The news drives home here in Stillwater with an Oklahoma State wrestling program that has produced 16 Olympic medalists, the latest being a bronze medal by Coleman Scott in the 2012 London Olympics. The United States is the most successful active nation, with 50 all-time gold medals and 125 overall.

“My first reaction this morning was emotional. It was a tough, tough 15 minutes because I didn’t know at the time that there was an opportunity to fight back,” said OSU wrestling coach John Smith, an Olympic gold medalist and former Olympic coach. “I didn’t know at the time that we can win this battle. It just made me sick to think that the opportunity for 14, 15, 16-year-old kids who have thoughts about being an Olympic champion is erased. We may only be talking about a handful of kids. It made me sick. As the day went on, I got stronger. I was on the phone a lot today with not just people in this country but all over the world. We’re all ready to stand together.”

Many had assumed modern pentathlon would be the likely event to be dropped, the committee instead decided to eliminate wrestling, which has roots in the ancient Greece games and has been a part of every modern Olympics since they began in 1896.

Each of the Summer Games’ 26 core sports were reviewed and at-risk. Wrestling will now have to face off with seven other sports that are fighting for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics. The Associated Press said it is “extreme unlikely” wrestling would return so soon after the committee voted to eliminate the event.

“I’ve studied this at length and written paper after paper at given times in my education, and of the original sports, it was one of them — there was wrestling, combative sports and track and field, that was it; that was the Olympics,” Chesbro said. “Now it’s spread out to so many things that it seems like they have to keep up with modern society and having things like kayaking with man-made waterfalls and they are looking at golf and things like that.

“That’s all fine, but why turn your nose to tradition and just say wrestling doesn’t matter any more? It’s just bizarre to me that the original sport, the oldest sport known to man is no longer going to be involved in the biggest sporting event known to man.”

The news has been a hot button topic on Twitter for locals, with Scott tweeting “Wrestling has a lot to do with who I am today! #saveolympicwrestling.” OSU wrestler Jordan Oliver, a NCAA national champion and Scott’s wrestling partner at the Olympics, tweeted “Can’t believe that’s even a thought about dropping wrestling from Olympics... what?”

Chesbro said with wrestling being removed from the Olympics, the only “professional level” for the sport, there could be a trickle down effect at the college level — and even down to the high school level.

“My immediate fear is, how long is it going to be before college programs increase their frequency in dropping programs and as soon as that happens, when does the trickle down theory effect high school wrestling?” Chesbro said. “If they are going to do it at that level, how much longer is it going to be before it trickles down to me? I’m being selfish thinking that way, but I’m thinking about the sport overall and how high school wrestling goes.

“If there is no Olympic wrestling, it makes you question why there should be college wrestling. If there’s not college wrestling, then why should there be high school wrestling? It’s fearful. I’m in fear right now for the sport of wrestling in our country.”

While Chesbro is fearful of the future, Smith had a simple response for those young wrestlers who have dreams of becoming Olympic champions.

“To any young kid who hears there’s not going to be wrestling in the Olympics, keep fighting. Keep working. Keep training. I’m going to fight for you,” Smith said. “There’s only one option with this decision and that’s to get it overturned. I’m going to live every day to make a difference in that final decision.”

Jason Elmquist is sports editor of The Stillwater NewsPress.

Text Only
High School Sports
  • Lamons-main.jpg Tahlequah wrestler Hestin Lamons adds to memorable season with All-State triumph

    Hestin Lamons’ fitness regiment has been a grueling one this summer. It paid off in a big way at the All-State wrestling dual on Wednesday night.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Date set for Keys football physicals

    Before scheduled practices can begin in order to prepare for the season, players must first receive a physical.
    Next Tuesday, Aug. 5, Keys High School will be administering physicals in the high school cafeteria.

    July 31, 2014

  • Keys-Dakota.jpg Playing both sides of the line

    Recently, Keys High School football standout Dakota Matlock was nearly severely injured in a terrifying car wreck.

    Matlock is coming off a stellar gridiron season for Keys High School. On offense, Matlock ran for over 1,000 yards for the Cougars. In his sophomore season, Matlock led Keys in tackles from the safety position.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hooper.jpg Sparking the flame

    Sequoyah High School’s Justin Hooper looking to lead this year

    Last season was Justin’s last chance to play alongside Cody at Sequoyah High School.
    Justin had to battle to win the Indians starting tailback. The coaching staff did not know who was going to be the Indians starting running back coming into fall practice.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Johnson, East win easily at All-State

    Jake Johnson was able to hold off Lawton MacArthur’s Trent Meisel at the Class 5A state tournament in May. On Monday at the All-State tournament at Cherokee Hills Golf Club, Johnson had it much easier against Meisel.

    July 29, 2014

  • TAH-MORGAN.jpg Brett’s ball club

    Brett Morgan taking over as Tahlequah’s softball coach

    July 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Morgan taking over as Tahlequah’s softball coach

    July 14, 2014

  • -1.tif Playing through pain

    Tahlequah's Chase Campbell playing football despite an injured shoulder

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • o'donnell3.jpg Randee repairs shoulder

    Former Tahlequah standout Randee O’Donnell has shoulder operation before starting college career

    July 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • OSSAA to coaches: No more criticism of officials

    June 27, 2014


Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction