Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

On pins and needles

Canadian wrestlers EDGY as sport teeters on edge of OLYMPIC OBLIVION

  • Print
Canada 's Carol Huynh (red) locks arms with Hitomi Obara of Japan in the semi-final 48kg Women's Freestyle Wrestling at the Olympic Games in London on Wednesday August 8, 2012.

THE CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

Canada 's Carol Huynh (red) locks arms with Hitomi Obara of Japan in the semi-final 48kg Women's Freestyle Wrestling at the Olympic Games in London on Wednesday August 8, 2012.

TORONTO -- Olympic champion Carol Huynh believes wrestling is one of the purest sports.

There's no equipment, no padding -- just "your hands, your heart and your mind."

"Those are the things that you bring to the Olympic Games with this sport," Huynh said. "I feel very strongly about this."

 

The 32-year-old hopes to convey that when she and fellow Olympic gold medallist Daniel Igali plead their sport's case to the International Olympic Committee on May 29 in a bid to keep wrestling on the Games program.

Huynh, a native of Hazelton, B.C., made history at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as Canada's first female gold medallist in the sport, and then went on to win bronze last summer in London before retiring from competition.

She was floored when she heard the IOC's decision in February to remove wrestling from the 2020 Olympics.

"I was just shocked, I had no idea this was happening, I had no idea that there was any decision like this coming about at that time. It just blew my mind," Huynh said Thursday at an athletes summit for the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.

Huynh said there are two avenues wrestling can take to be reinstated.

The first is at the May 29 IOC meeting where wrestling will compete with seven other sports for a provisional spot in the 2020 Games. Officials also will lobby the 114-member IOC General Session in September in Buenos Aires in hopes of overturning the executive board's original recommendation by a simple majority vote.

Huynh, who coaches now, will attend an international wrestling congress May 16-19 in Moscow where some of the sport's biggest names will map out their next moves.

One would think history alone would be enough, she said, to keep wrestling in the Olympics.

"I might be biased, but when I think of the Olympics, I think of track, I think of the marathon, I think of wrestling absolutely," she said. "It was part of the Ancient Olympic Games as well as in the very first modern Olympic Games."

The sport also has accessibility on its side. It doesn't require much equipment, just a training partner. And it's an activity that people do naturally growing up.

"You don't necessarily join a wrestling team, but as a kid you wrestle around with your siblings, or your dog even," she said. "It feels like it's just a natural human movement, and I think that's what the Olympics is all about, the celebration of human movement and wrestling is a huge piece of that.

"When I think about wrestling, it's not always about the winning, it's not always about being on top of the podium, it's about the determination, the hard work that kids can develop as a person."

Huynh and Igali -- a gold medallist at the 2000 Sydney Games -- will be part of a six-member team at the May 29 IOC presentation in St. Petersburg, Russia, that also includes three-time Olympic champion Aleksandr Karelin.

The sport's gender issues, including the fact there is no women's Greco Roman wrestling, played a part in the IOC board's recommendation to drop both Greco-Roman and freestyle disciplines from the 2020 program. Huynh said she's been asked to be a part of a women's advisory council for the sport.

FILA, wrestling's world governing, has declared May "World Wrestling Month." Wrestling Canada also launched "Save Olympic Wrestling Wednesdays" -- athletes and others in the sport take to social media every Wednesday to drum up support and awareness.

Wrestling will be up against a combined baseball-softball bid, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and martial arts karate and wushu in its fight for Olympic inclusion. The board could select a short list of three sports to submit to the full IOC assembly, which will make the final decision at its September session in Argentina.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 5, 2013 A1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Preparing for Boxing Day

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Geese fly in the morning light over Selkirk Ave Wednesday morning- Day 22– June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Korea Veterans Association stained glass window at Deer Lodge Centre. Dedication with Minister of Veterans Affairs Dr. Rey Pagtakhan. March 12, 2003.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who would you like to see the Bombers hire as defensive co-ordinator?

View Results

Ads by Google