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Wrestling to continue as an Olympic sport

Wrestling will continue to be an Olympic sport -- but it remains to be seen how Wisconsin's large wrestling community will adapt to all the changes that are coming. 

The International Olympic Committee's executive panel voted seven months ago to remove wrestling from the core group of sports after the 2016 Summer Games.  Yesterday, the full IOC voted to keep it going at least through the 2024 games.  It received 49 votes to return, compared to 24 for a combined baseball-and-softball bid. Squash got 22 votes. 

Wrestling was part of the original modern-day Olympics in 1896, but Jim Scherr of the U.S. Olympic Committee called wrestling "new in virtually every way."  After the earlier decision to end the sport, an international governing body elected a new president, added more women in decision-making roles, and made rule changes to make wrestling easier for the public to understand.  They include a doubling of scores, and more incentives for wrestlers to stay on the offensive. 

Earlier, Wisconsin's wrestling community said it would have been devastated had the sport been dropped.  In June, some of the state's most famous wrestlers convinced the state Assembly to urge that the sport be continued in the Olympics.  They included Olympic medalist and former University of Wisconsin coach Andy Rein -- along with Wisconsin Olympians Ben Peterson, Lee Kemp, and Jim Haines.