The head of the world wrestling body said Sunday "modernization" helped the sport get reinstated in the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games.
The president of the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA), Serbia's Nenad Lalovic, said the members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who voted earlier in the day to put wrestling back in the program after axing it seven months ago, were convinced the sport has "improved" and "modernized".
"We had to think about why they had proposed we leave the Games and then we studied what road we should take to once again be part of the Olympic family. We improved all of the areas the IOC pointed out, and this vote is the outcome," said Lalovic.
At a press conference following the IOC vote in Buenos Aires, which reinstated wrestling and nixed baseball/softball and squash, Lalovic said his organization's Save Olympic Wrestling campaign succeeded "in modernizing our sport."
"Wrestling is not a new Olympic sport, but what we are presenting today is a new kind of wrestling," added Lalovic.
The IOC's surprise decision to axe wrestling in February led to the resignation in March of former FILA chief Raphael Martinetti (2002-2013) and Lalovic's naming in May.
"We are trying to bring our sport up to date, make it more spectacular and watchable, with simpler rules," said Lalovic, referring to a series of changes the wrestling body has made since February to win back the sport's place in the Olympics.
Allegations of corruption also marred his predecessor's term as FILA chief, leading Lalovic to remark the wrestling body was now ruled by "total transparency".