Arturo Holmes first began training young wrestlers in his home on Boulevard in 1992. Twenty years later, he’s added camps for elementary-aged wrestlers to what is now The Wrestling Center and has moved to a new facility in Smyrna, and he’s not pleased about the International Olympic Committee’s decision to eliminate wrestling from the Olympics beginning in 2020.
In a secret vote, the International Olympic Committee’s executive board decided to eliminate wrestling from the Olympics, starting in 2020. But many actively involved in a grassroots movement and those whose hope for the sport just won’t go down for the count may be enough to keep the sport in the international elite competition.
“It was always part of the Olympics,” Holmes told Patch. “It’s about as natural as running.”
For Holmes, who works with many aspiring young wrestlers, the sport means a brighter future.
“It may not be a major sport in the U.S., but it is important in other parts of the world,” Holmes said.
But according to this piece from The New York Times, the sport continues to see growth among high school athletes with about 270,000–including 8,200 young women– high school students wrestling competitively in the U.S. That’s up about 40,000 students over the last decade.
Holmes said elimination of wrestling from the international elite competition would “really hinder the growth of the sport.” He said the possibility of being able to compete in the Olympics is what entices many young people to participate in the sport.
The International Olympic Committee meets again in May in St. Petersburg, Russia and will have its final vote in September.