WYCKOFF, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Wrestling has been an Olympic sport since the first Games in ancient Greece.
But on Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee made the decision to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games.
Several members of the wrestling team at Bergen Catholic in Wyckoff, N.J., said they dreamed of one day making it to the Olympics.
“After college there’s no pros, there’s no nothing. It’s just the Olympics and that’s it,” wrestler J.P. Ascolese told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.
For many of the young wrestlers, their hero is New Jersey native Jordan Burroughs, who won gold in London last summer. Bergen Catholic freshman Nick Suriano is the No. 1 wrestler in the country and said the news Tuesday has been a big blow.
“Hearing that it was canceled and dropped out of the Olympics, it’s just a shame because that’s my ultimate goal and it’s kind of crushed right now,” Suriano told CBS 2’s Sloan.
“Wrestling being the first Olympic sport, it was tough for all wrestlers,” Bergen Catholic wrestler Zach Stira said.
Many kids in New Jersey’s wrestling programs have gone to Florian Ghinea Wrestling School. Their pictures are on his walls, Sloan reported.
Ghinea was Romania’s two-time national wrestling champion before defecting to the U.S.
“It’s a great sport mentally, physical, commitment, you name it. There’s no sport like it,” Ghinea told Sloan.
It’s unclear why the IOC chose to eliminate wrestling, though some reports indicate low ticket sales.
Bergen Catholic’s wrestling coach said the sport is gaining popularity.
“The numbers are up dramatically. Women’s wrestling is taking off,” coach David Bell told Sloan.
About 20 years ago, the IOC tried to get rid of wrestling, but was unsuccessful. Ghinea and the kids who train in the sport said they hope there will be a reversal on the 2020 decision.
Wrestling will remain in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. By dropping wrestling, the IOC will be able to add a new sport to the game, which will be announced later this year.
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