Published on February 27, 2013 | by Randy Brenzen

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Charlie Haas disappointed by IOC wrestling move

Charlie Haas

Charlie Haas celebrating a victory in Ring of Honor. Flickr: Anton Jackson

Many people have been outraged over the International Olympic Committee’s decision to remove wrestling from the Olympic Games following the completion of the event in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

Wrestling is one of the original Olympic sports.

It’s one of the sports people think of when the words ‘Olympic Games’ are muttered.  People competed in wrestling in the first ancient Olympic games in Greece, as well as the first modern Olympics in 1896, but excluding the 1900 Paris games, where wrestling was not on the cards.

The sport is very accessible for everyone to participate, with low or minimal cost of equipment.

People throughout the wrestling community, both professional and amateur, have been voicing their opinions on the IOC’s attempt to pull the rug out from under the feet of one of the oldest sports known.

Professional athletes, from the UFC’s Chael Sonnen to professional wrestling’s only Olympic gold medalist and current Total Nonstop Action (TNA) star Kurt Angle have expressed their concerns over this subject.  And now they are joined by yet another professional athlete, Charlie Haas.

A former member of the Seton Hall University wrestling team, Haas has also competed professionally for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) where he was a multi-time tag team champion, and currently Ring of Honor (ROH), where he is still under contract.

So what does Haas think about the removal of wrestling from the Olympics?

“It’s a shame,” said Haas, continuing, “I can’t believe they’ve done that to wrestling.”

So what sport is replacing wrestling in the Olympics?  Is it some sort of athletics event?  Possibly a martial art like karate or Krav Maga?

Actually, it’s golf, which, in itself is not a bad sport.  However, even professional golfer Zach Johnson, who has won the 2007 Masters in Augusta, Georgia believes wrestling should be a priority over golf when it comes to the Olympics, tweeting: “I love golf, but putting it in the Olympics in place of wrestling is an absolute joke.”

Haas also has something to say on the topic: “Golf is a privilege sport. Not a lot of people in the world can play golf because it’s expensive with green fees, the terrain, maybe they don’t have golf clubs. It’s just too expensive for many people.”

There are also nations that are competitive only in wrestling.

To remove wrestling from the Olympics would severely damage the Olympic dreams of those countries.  Many of the former Eastern Bloc members, Georgia and Azerbaijan especially, could be without their main sport, unless IOC meetings in May and September vote to include wrestling after all. It is on a list of eight sports from which only one will be chosen for inclusion in 2020.

Out of the seven medals Georgia won in London 2012, six were in wrestling.  Of the 10 medals Azerbaijan claimed, seven were in the art of grappling.  Haas was also vocal on that front: “In the former Eastern Bloc countries where wrestling thrives you are looking at many of places that you are taking wrestling out of,” said Haas, continuing, “They train their whole lives for the Olympics.  That meant something to them.  Now it’s taken away.”

“It’s a damn shame.”

As for what should happen to Fédération Internationale des Luttes Associées (FILA’s) interim president Nenad Lalovic and the IOC’s president Jacques Rogge, Haas had this to say.  “The president of FILA and the president of the IOC should be removed because I can’t believe they’ve done that.”

 

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