Olympic wrestling on way out

Posted: February 13, 2013

RULON GARDNER'S epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics. Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won't have a chance to excel on the sport's biggest stage.

Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the United States were jolted Tuesday when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games. The move is set to take effect for the 2020 Olympics and eliminates a sport that has been a staple of both the ancient and modern games.

"It's the IOC trying to change the Olympics to make it more mainstream and more viewer-friendly instead of sticking to what they founded the Olympics on, and that was basically amateur sports," Gardner told the Associated Press by phone from Logan, Utah. "To get the death penalty out of nowhere."

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