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Wrestling fans all over the world are celebrating after the International Olympic Committee IOC voted in Buenos Aries on Sunday to keep the sport as part of the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games.
The sport, which has been an ever present since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, was in real danger of losing its place after it was declassified as one of the 26 core sports earlier this year. Wrestling was then placed in the final three bids, along with squash and baseball/softball, for the last spot, and Sunday’s vote confirmed that wrestling made it.
“To the millions of wrestlers, supporters and fans around the world that came together to save Olympic wrestling; I offer a very big thank you,” said Nenad Lalovic, President of the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA).
“Every one of you fought very hard for this victory. Now we must remain united to make certain we live up to the expectations that have been placed on all of us by virtue of this vote.”
Lalovic and his colleagues listened to the IOC’s feedback on their sport and made changes accordingly. “With this vote, you have shown that the steps we have taken to improve our sport have made a difference. I assure each of you that our modernization will not stop now. We will continue to strive to be the best partner to the Olympic Movement that we can be,” he said.
According to the FILA website, among the tweaks made were: “innovative rules to encourage competition, new distribution of weight classes to increase opportunities for women and an enhanced social media profile.”
In other big Olympic news, Tokyo was named host city for the 2020 Olympics.