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IOC officials defend vote to put wrestling on Olympics shortlist

Olympics: Wrestling-Men's Freestyle 84 kg-1/8 Finals

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

IOC President Jacques Rogge on Friday defended the executive board’s decision to include wrestling on the shortlist of candidate sports for the 2020 Olympics, which some think is too quick a turnaround after it was removed in February. Rogge said he doesn’t see it as an error.

“You don’t go for a new one for the sake of a new one,” he said of Wednesday’s vote. “Novelty is not the issue. Quality is the issue… The purpose is to have the best possible Olympic program.”

With only one spot available, wrestling winning the final vote in September would mean that the event schedule for 2020 would be the same as in London, with the addition of golf and rugby, which were added during a similar IOC Vote in 2009.

Many believe that both wrestling and baseball/softball, which was voted out by the IOC following the Beijing Games, have had their turns and that it’s time for squash to reinvigorate the Olympics with new blood. But IOC Vice President Thomas Bach, who’s considered a frontrunner to replace Rogge when he steps down in September, also dismissed the concerns on Friday.

“Wrestling responded well,” Bach said. “You could clearly see they got the message. They changed their sport within three months. Sometimes for brave reforms, you need pressure.”

“If there is a consideration that one of the eight applicant sports is better than the other ones, then it should be chosen even if it is an existing sport.”