STILLWATER — Coleman Scott, a bronze medalist at the last Olympics, gazed around the room inside the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
“There are a lot of kids here,” said Scott, a former Oklahoma State national champion and four-time All-American. “This was for them.”
This — the International Olympic Committee's vote to restore wrestling's place in the Games — was a confirmation of the sport's past, present and, yes, what's yet to come.
“It's my future,” said OSU sophomore Alex Dieringer. “I'm really excited knowing that I'm going to be able to continue following my Olympic dreams.”
After being stunned with a decision in February to cut wrestling from the Olympics, the sport rallied with a galvanizing effort of the sport's leaders, including OSU coach John Smith. They promised changes to modernize wrestling into a more entertaining — think MMA, with the addition of music and lighting — as well as a more easily understood version of a sport that dates back to the ancient Games and has been included in every modern Olympics with the exception of 1900. More weight classes for women are also in place.
“Wrestling is new in virtually every way,” said Jim Scherr, a former wrestler and ex-CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee.