I wrote the following as part of a group discussion on iSportconnect regarding the de-listing of wrestling as a "core" sport of the Olympic Games. It also follows upon discussions I have been involved with on various hockey forums:
The axing of wrestling was a shock, but when you look at the votes that were cast in each of the ballots at the IOC meeting last week, it seems as if the sport lost a lottery that could have easily seen modern pentathlon or even, on the right/wrong day, canoeing tossed out.
The fact that hockey was among the five sports short-listed for the axe has sent shockwaves through its community. People I've spoken to in the hockey fraternity are outraged that it could have easily been them. Clearly, when the present opaque procedures in place, few sports can be confident that they are safe.
There needs to be more transparency in the process used to exclude sports from the Olympic "core". As well a clearer picture needed on what criteria each sport need to satisfy, there needs to be a better process for shortlisted sports to "defend" themselves.
We know that wrestling, modern pentathlon, canoeing, taekwondo and hockey were the five sports shortlisted for the ballot to be excluded from the "core" sports. Once the field of five was announced, each sport should have been given time (14, 30, 60 days?) to prepare a submission to the IOC to argue why they should be retained as a core Olympic sport. Of course, no such right was given to them.
I fail to understand how and why wrestling could be a less "attractive" Olympic sport than some that have been retained. While unlikely to happen, it would be a huge embarrassment to the IOC if it was finally decided that wrestling was to be retained and no new sport admitted for 2020 - but it would be an embarrassment that the IOC deserves.