Local Wrestlers Surprised by Olympic Decision

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Some young athletes' dreams of competing in the Olympics have been squashed. The International Olympic Committee has thrown wrestling from the 2020 Olympic ring.

Harlem High School senior Jake Messing has been wrestling since he was eight years old. This weekend, he competes with Harlem for a state title. Over the past ten years, he's always looked to Olympians for inspiration.

"When you're young, you really just look up to the people that are the greatest," said Messing. "Back then I'd always, yeah, I'd want to wrestle in the Olympics when I was younger."

The International Olympic Committee recommends removing wrestling from the 2020 Olympics in order to revamp the games.

"I just think it's unfair to the wrestling community to take their, the Superbowl of wrestling away from them," said Harlem coach Cal Ferry.

Wrestling has been a part of the Olympic games since the international competition debuted in 1896, and the sport can be traced back thousands of years before then.

Ferry said his wrestlers don't have the prospects of going pro like other high school sports do.

"There is no money involved in wrestling," he said. "You know, everybody does it for the sport. Everybody's an amateur. And that's what the Olympics, what I think the Olympics, that's what I think the Olympics is about."

Ferry said wrestling is growing in popularity across the country as MMA fighting gains attention. Even if wrestling isn't in the Olympics, Ferry is positive kids will keep coming out to hit the mats.

Wrestling will be part of the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. For now, It's not on the 2020 program. In September, the International Olympic Committee will take a vote on which sport should fill the spot. Eight sports are being considered, including wrestling.

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