Woodward, Okla. —
By Chris Day
CNHI News Service
STILLWATER — A fresh look for an old sport kept wrestling in the Olympic Games, National Wrestling Hall of Fame Executive Director Lee Roy Smith said.
Sunday, the International Olympic Committee reinstated the sport for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The IOC's executive board surprisingly dropped wrestling from the list of core sports in February. Sunday, wrestling received 49 votes to win in the first round of the IOC's secret balloting at its meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Baseball-softball received 24 votes and squash 22. The vote followed final, 20-minute presentations by representatives of the three sports.
Approximately 50 wrestling fans attended a watch event Sunday at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater.
Oklahoma State University's Olympic bronze medalist Coleman Scott, two-time Olympic gold medalist and OSU wrestling coach John Smith and Olympic wrestler and OSU assistant coach Eric Guerrero attended the watch event.
"We are in for 2020 and 2024 on a provisional basis," the Hall of Fame's executive director said. "It gives us time to get in as a core sport. That is our goal."
Since February, international wrestling organization, FILA, revamped its organization and reshaped the sport.
FILA President Raphael Martinetti resigned in February. Nenad Lalovic took the reins. FILA gave female and athletes a larger role in decision making. It revamped the sport, adding two weight classes for women in freestyle and adopting rule changes that make wrestling easier to understand and more fun to watch. The changes also reward an offensive style of wrestling.
"Wrestling is new in virtually every way, FILA official Jim Scherr told IOC delegates during the sport's presentation.
In Stillwater, Smith, the Hall of Fame executive director, said wrestling wouldn't have changed if the IOC hadn't taken action in February.
"We could not have the reform, a revolution movement, without this. It was literally a blessing for the sport," Smith said.
The London Games bronze medalist, Scott, said he didn't know if the IOC would remove wrestling as a core sport in February and return it to the 2020 Olympic program in September.
"There are a lot of kids here," Scott said as he looked around the Hall of Fame. "This was for them."
Scott hopes to represent USA Wrestling at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He isn't sure he will be wrestling competitively in 2020 although he could be coaching Olympic hopefuls.
The rule changes already are in place. Scott said it has made wrestling a more entertaining sport by emphasizing scoring.
"It has brought a lot of excitement back. The scores have doubled. It's back to wrestling. What we love and grew up doing," Scott said. "... It will be awesome in the long run for us."
Wrestling added two weight divisions for female wrestlers and dropped one for males in freestyle. There are six weight divisions for males in Greco-Roman wrestling.
Gender equity was highlighted in the presentations by baseball-softball and squash, too.
"Every sport hit it in their presentation. They wanted gender equity. That's what the IOC is looking for. It's important that we did that. It's good for the sport. It might have saved us," Scott said.
Guerrero, the OSU wrestling assistant, said wrestling had 14 men's weights and four women's weights.
"We have moved to a much more equal situation that I think everybody is happy with," Guerrero said.
Oklahoma State University's wrestling coach has golden Olympic memories as an athlete and coach.
Smith said Sunday's IOC decision created another Olympic moment.
"This one was a great moment for me as a fan of wrestling," Smith said. "Obviously, I have had a chance to coach Olympic teams and be a part of that process after I wrestled, which was as enjoyable as ever. From this point forward, I am going to be a fan of wrestling. ... I'm just really pleased that through this whole process that I learned how strong wrestling was throughout the world," Smith said.
Chris Day is associate editor of the Stillwater NewsPress.
Woodward, Okla. —
By Chris Day
Football playoffs rescheduled
Due to the approaching winter storm expected to affect most of the state, football championship and semifinal games have been rescheduled.
Boomers, Alva set to clash in season opener
A pair of veteran boys teams are set to tip off the basketball season tonight at Boomer Fieldhouse.
Trojans lose in double overtime
Sharon-Mutual's bid for a spot in the Class C state championship game ccomes up short.
Wagoner edges Boomers 28-21 in state quarterfinals
WAGONER- in a back and forth game, unbeaten Wagoner edged the Woodward Boomers 28-21 at Odom Field Friday in the Class 4A football quarterfinals.
No. 12 Oklahoma State clobbers No. 23 Texas 38-13
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Big 12 championship is still solidly in reach for No. 12 Oklahoma State, which showed Saturday just what No. 4 Baylor will be up against next week.
Big second half carries Sooners
Oklahoma’s up-and-down season was at rock bottom with a little over a minute left in the first half. It was trailing Iowa State — the same team that hadn’t won a game since late September — by a touchdown at Owen Field.
Area teams advance in playoffs
Round one of the football playoffs went about as expected for area teams.
Laverne advanced in Class B as did Shattuck, Sharon-Mutual and Balko in Class C and Okeene in Class A.
Boomers crush Ada 49-7
Woodward moves into the Class 4A quarterfinals next week at Wagoner.
Boomers set to face Cougars
Woodward goes on the road tonight for first round playoff action while several area teams begin the post-season at home.
Gilbert, OSU offense powers Pokes to blowout win
With Barry Sanders in attendance, the 15th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys kicked off Saturday’s blowout in the most fitting of ways — a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Justin Gilbert on the opening kick.
It was a nice nod to the Heisman Trophy winner, who returned the season opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in 1988. For Gilbert it was his sixth career kickoff-return for a touchdown — which leads all active FBS players and is one shy of the FBS career record.
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- Football playoffs rescheduled