STILLWATER — With the sport of wrestling fighting to remain a part of the Summer Olympics, the wrestling community now has a chance to show its true colors as the fight to retain wrestling at the Olympic level has begun.
After the International Olympic Committee voted in February to drop the sport, wrestling is competing with baseball/softball and squash for a single opening in the 2020 games, with a full vote to be made in September.
Jordan Holm, a former Northern Iowa wrestler who entered the U.S. World Team Trials as the No. 1 Greco-Roman competitor at 185 pounds, said the decision was hard to take.
“When the news first hit, I remember I was in Cuba,” Holm said. “Steve Fraser came to breakfast, and we were all getting ready to go to practice. He was somber, and he was like ‘Obviously you guys haven't checked your email.' It was a very big blow and I won't forget where I was.”
Even with the harsh news, Holm said the more he talked about it with his teammates and coaches, the more the group realized the situation could have a good outcome for the sport of wrestling.
“I think it's going to bring out our personality as a community,” Holm said. “When you're training hard in rooms all across the country, you get this kind of tenacity that wrestlers are known for, and I really like to see that and I think that's kind of been our response.”
Holm said the discipline wrestlers possess has helped the wrestling community deal with one of the hardest things the sport has seen.
“I think you are kind of seeing a mirroring of what it is we are taught as athletes,” Holm said. “The approach that we take to the mat is a similar approach to the way we are handling this moment. Hopefully it's a teaching and coaching moment, and so far I think we've responded very well to that.”