Local Wrestling Programs Discouraged by Olympic Decision

Posted at: 02/20/2013 5:46 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Lawmakers on both the state and national level are making Olympic wrestling a priority.

They are drafting and proposing legislation hoping to change the decision of the International Olympic Committee to drop wrestling in the 2020 games.

There is a buzz of excitement in the halls of Chatfield High School and it all centers around wrestling.

"They just decided to cancel classes for the day," said wrestling coach Joel Viss.

He says the school has canceled class so that all of the students can watch their wrestling team battling for the state championship.

But while Chatfield is canceling class for wrestling the International Olympic Committee is canceling wrestling.
"We like it, we think it's a great sport there aren't too many sports that teach courage and self-dependence," said Viss.

"People were just stunned across the country," said president of the South East Minnesota Wrestling Coalition Steve Patton.

Patton, who wrestled in the Olympic trials himself says that unlike other sports, like basketball and tennis, for wrestlers the Olympics are the only end goal.

"It's the only opportunity that they have to be at the top of their game," said Patton.

He's happy to see several state and national leaders working to change the IOC’s mind.

"Asking why it happened? and asking what we need to do get it back in the Olympics?" said Patton.

Representative Tim Walz is just one of the legislators that is now pushing to get wrestling back in the Olympics.

Minnesota lawmaker Bob Dettmer of Forest Lake introduced a resolution in the house to call on the Olympic Committee.

Coach Viss is not surprised.

"Wrestling's a big part of Minnesota's heritage and I know it's big in Iowa as well, so I'm not surprised that some of their legislators are saying things as well," said Viss.

With these efforts there is hope that wrestling will be brought back to the Olympics after 2020. In the meantime, Viss is focusing his attention on a different   competition, the state championship.

"It's exciting, it's going to be fun."

Patton told us that several state wrestlers with Olympic aspirations are now rushing their training with the hope of making the 2016 Olympics. Some even contemplating dropping out of high school to do so.