This photo was taken tonight at one of my wrestling clinics. With yesterday's news to *recommend* dropping wrestling from the Olympics, I am going to fight so that Ethan Spacht, an 8 year old who just won his first state title, can have the same opportunities that wrestling gave me. I am going to fight for his and literally millions of other kids' around the world Olympic dreams, because when I was 8 I had big dreams too. Wrestling allowed me to achieve a lot of my goals, but more importantly it was a vehicle that provided me an education and made me a better person. Those practices, competitions, and relationships taught me the value of hard work, self-discipline, sacrifice, perseverance, positive attitude, overcoming self-doubt, mental toughness and other character-building traits that I rely on every day to be a better worker, husband, coach, and citizen. The Olympics is the pinnacle of our sport, and without the Olympics I fear that wrestling will wither and fade away as countries cut funding (the main source of sport funding around the world is governmental).
One cool story about Ethan winning this tournament was that he had to wrestle a tough opponent who he had lost to 3 weeks prior. His response when he found out who his opponent was? "YES!" Wrestling is personal, physically exhausting, and emotionally taxing, and even an 8 year old wrestler embraces those challenges. I hope he keeps that attitude his whole life because wrestling taught me the same thing. I am obviously biased towards wrestling, but I am amazed at the public outcry from people outside the sport who are equally shocked by the IOC's somewhat shady decision. For that reason, and with the knowledge that wrestlers around the world will mobilize to do what they must to save the sport, I am optimistic that this decision will not stand for long.
Yours in WRESTLING!
2x Canadian Olympian