Key Words:Olympic; IOC
>>IOC recommends to cut wrestling from 2020 Olympics
>>Urgent call for 'rejuvenation' of Chinese wrestling
After several rounds of voting, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently dropped wrestling from the Summer Games starting 2020. It will compete with seven other sports, including baseball, softball, karate, roller skating, rock climbing, squash, water skiing, and wushu, for a slot on the 2020 Olympic program, but the chance of success is slim.
The removal of wrestling from the Olympics has aroused worries among industry insiders about the future of domestic wrestlers. They have reasons to worry because China’s competitive sports are so obsessed with Olympic medals that inclusion in the Olympics can have a huge impact on the development and popularity of a sport. After baseball and softball were voted out of the 2012 London Olympic Games, the two sports failed to draw as much public attention as they did at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and winning at the National Games became the only task of local teams.
Due to the removal of wrestling from the Olympics, certain local wrestling teams may be “cut,” and certain wrestlers may be forced to transform or retire. The changes in the environment are bound to affect the future of wrestlers, which is worrisome. There have been frequent reports of retired athletes living a hard life in recent years. For example, former weightlifting champion Zou Chunlan made a living as a bathhouse attendant; former marathon champion Guo Ping sold her medals to treat illness, and retired gymnast Zhang Shangwu preformed stunt on the street for money. These stories have made people even more worried about the future of domestic wrestlers.
As the Olympic program is constantly adjusted, wrestling, which is likely to lose the competition for the slot on the 2020 Olympic program, is neither the first nor the last to be removed from the Olympics. If China changes its competitive sports plan just because of changes in the Olympic program, related sports will not be able to develop healthily in line with market rules, which explains the awkward situation facing baseball and softball after their removal from the Olympics. The domestic sports authority should adopt effective measures to protect the interests of affected athletes and help them transform or retire smoothly.
The society and athletes should make concerted efforts to solve this problem. A sound social security system for athletes, particularly retired ones, should be established to provide them with educational, medical, and employment assistance and help them better adapt to society. Furthermore, athletes themselves should make plans for their future, and cannot expect the society to solve all problems.
Read the Chinese version: 摔跤出局 运动员咋办（体坛观澜）
Source:People's Daily Paper Edition , author: Li Yanfei.
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