Q&A: Archie Randall says Olympic wrestling decision 'a slap in the face'
Oklahoma City University coach was shocked at the IOC's plan to drop the sport from the Games starting in 2020.
On Tuesday morning, the International Olympic Committee announced its plan to cut wrestling from the 2020 Summer Games.
The news immediately reverberated across Oklahoma, a wrestling-crazed state with a multitude of big names and well-known legends.
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One of those big names is Oklahoma City University men's and women's wrestling coach Archie Randall. He has coached the sport for 28 years, and is Oklahoma's winningest high-school coach. He spoke with The Oklahoman soon after, sharing his thoughts on the decision and what may happen in the aftermath:
Q: What was your initial reaction?
A: My initial reaction was, “How stupid is that?” It's a pretty horrendous deal when you take the oldest sport that man has known and you take it out of the Olympics. It's a recommendation from the IOC Board, still has to go to the IOC general membership for vote in May, still has a chance to be rebutted. And you got to think about this other thing, the nations that will be mostly affected are Canada, USA, Japan, China and Russia. These are all major players in all the games. … It really takes away the Olympic dream for a lot of kids. A lot of kids.
Since the announcement, there's been a pretty vocal opposition to the decision and a large backing for the sport of wrestling. Does that give you hope?
You think about this, high school participation has grown over 40,000 in the last decade, there's 95 new colleges wrestling, it's the sixth most popular sport with over 272 participants. There's 8,000 women that wrestle now, 21 college programs. The D-1 (NCAA Championships) are sold out every year no matter where you put them at. The one that was held in Oklahoma City a few years back setting the record, and we have it back next year. There's just a multitude of outcry. It's still a growing sport, still the man's oldest sport. Why they would choose to do this at the IOC, who knows? You don't know what's going on. But the outcry from the U.S. is going to be doubled by the Canadians, doubled by the Japanese, the Chinese, the Russians. Think about that, these are five of the most powerful nations in the world there's going to be an outcry from.
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