LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The IOC cut wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics on Tuesday, a stunning rebuke for a sport that goes back to the inaugural modern games in 1896 and has produced such champions as Russian great Alexander Karelin.
While modern pentathlon was widely considered the sport most at risk, the IOC executive board surprisingly voted to remove wrestling instead from the list of 25 "core" summer sports.
The board acted after reviewing the 26 sports on the current Olympic program. Eliminating one sport allows the International Olympic Committee to add a new sport to the program later this year.
"This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. "In the view of the executive board, this was the best program for the Olympic Games in 2020. It's not a case of what's wrong with wrestling, it is what's right with the 25 core sports."
Adams said the decision was made by secret ballot over several rounds, with members voting each time on which sport should not be included in the core group. IOC President Jacques Rogge did not vote.
Wrestling was voted out from a final group that also included modern pentathlon, taekwondo and field hockey, officials familiar with the vote told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the voting details were not made public.