Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Sports

February 15, 2013

Shock & Disappointment

Locals wrestle over the thought of not competing at the Olympic Games

LOCKPORT —  

Shock and disappointment sum up the politically-correct feelings of those involved with and participating in local wrestling, a sport the International Olympic Committee has voted out of the summer games beginning in 2020.
Other, more appropriate expressions of outrage can’t be printed.
The International Olympic Committee’s executive board voted Tuesday to drop wrestling from the 2020 Games and the reaction has been immediate and sharp from wrestling organizations throughout the United States and the world, even locally.
“I’m surprised and shocked,” said Hall of Fame wrestling coach Dick Lang of Royalton, one of the men responsible for guiding Middleport wrestler Lou Rosselli ultimately to the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996.
“My first thoughts were, ‘This can’t be,’” Lang said. “Wrestling is the oldest sport in the modern Olympics (1896) and even the Greek Olympics. This will eliminate 17 countries that won medals in 2012 — and that shows its diversity. In some of those countries, wrestling is their national sport. And to our athletes, that’s the ultimate goal.”
Local wrestling coaches and participants are hoping that the move won’t be ratified for good by the committee in September.
“I think it’s a slap in the face to everyone who wrestles,” said Lockport High School junior Marshall Taylor, who will compete this weekend at the state wrestling championships in Albany at 220 pounds.
“Wrestling is one of the first sports ever invented — no offense to the other Olympic sports. It’s just very disrespectful to our athletes. There’s no wrestlers on the committee, because if there was, they would know that it’s one of the toughest sports out there.”
LHS varsity wrestling coach Joe Scapelliti and other other local coaches are also surprised and perplexed by the announcement.
“It’s definitely very disappointing to say the least,” Scapelliti said. “I don’t think it’s over from what I’ve seen. I think the IOC will listen to USA Wrestling and some of the other organizations pleading their case and hopefully, they’ll reconsider.”

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