Smith, OSU wrestlers celebrate IOC decision

STILLWATER -- Coaches and members of the Oklahoma State wrestling team watched intently from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla., as the International Olympic Committee announced that wrestling would be included in the 2020 and 2024 Summer Olympics as a provisional sport.

"I think the message that was sent down today from the IOC was since wrestling has been in the ancient games, as well as the modern games, we shouldn't be trailing; we are expected to be leading," coach John Smith said. "Winning the majority vote back in May to forward us to today's decision and winning the majority of the vote today was huge for us, and gives us a second opportunity to do it well."

In February, the IOC executive board recommended that wrestling be dropped from the Olympic Games after the 2016 Olympics. Only three months later, the sport was given hope as it was named to the short-list of sports to be included in the 2020 Summer Games.

On the short-list for inclusion alongside wrestling was a combined baseball/softball bid and squash. Each made its case for inclusion Sunday to the members of the IOC in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and it was voted it on shortly after. Wrestling received 49 of 95 votes, giving it the majority on the first ballot and a quick victory for the wrestling community.

"That was harder than a wrestling match for me," 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Coleman Scott said. "It's been a long process, and I was nervous all morning. We had a good presentation and a very good panel, and I'm glad we didn't take it lightly. There were a lot kids watching with us today and this was for them."

Cowboy wrestling sophomore Alex Dieringer knew this decision would have long-lasting implications and was excited for the result.

"It's my future," Dieringer said. "I'm really excited knowing that I'm going to be able to continue following my Olympic dreams."

The 2020 Summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo, Japan.


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