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Wrestlers, Fans React To Decision To Drop Olympic Wrestling

It’s an Olympic original, making its first appearance in 708 BC.

But the International Olympic Committee is eliminating wrestling beginning with the 2020 summer games.

The news comes just as the Nebraska State Wrestling tournament begins in Omaha.

The excitement of the state wrestling tournament is unmatched in intensity...from wrestlers, to coaches to fans.

But this year's tournament had a different feel, after the IOC's decision to drop the sport.

"I was just blown away...surprised,” Southwest Nebraska High School wrestler Austin Minard said. “They should keep it, I think. It’s the oldest sport so they should let it stay."

"I didn't think it was fair considering it’s one of the oldest sports,” Junior wrestler Dillon Fries said. “They could get rid of all these new sports that nobody plays or participates in when wrestling's world wide."

Wrestling has become important to the Lambert family of Fremont. The two boys used wrestling to prepare for football before discovering they actually liked it.

"They're disappointed,” the father, Tim Lambert said. “We had gone and seen Jordan Burroughs, so very disappointing."

University of Nebraska wrestler Jordan Burroughs won a gold medal in the recent games.

"No more idols," Tim Lambert said.

Michele Lambert says she can see the announcement deterring others from discovering the self discipline and confidence building her sons experienced through wrestling.

"They feel that this is going to discourage kids from going out because there's not that golden ring that you can always reach for."

But the Lamberts, like other wrestling fans, feel this match is not yet over.

"I think the fans will demand that it comes back...its tradition," Michele said.

The IOC didn't offer reasons for the vote to eliminate wrestling from Olympic competition but wants to attract younger viewers to its television audience saying in a statement it wants to remain relevant to sports fans of all generations.

A final decision will be made in September.


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