It has been an exciting few days for wrestling fans after the International Olympic Committee announced wrestling will be back in the 2020 and 2024 Olympics.
Wrestling, baseball/softball and squash were the sports that had been listed as possible events to be eliminated from the 2020 games in Japan, citing low viewership numbers. The IOC voted Sunday on which sport would be reinstated and wrestling received an overwhelming 49 votes. Baseball/softball received 24 votes with squash getting the lowest amount of votes at 22.
Some changes have been made however. There will be fewer weight classes as the number has been reduced to six for the men's and women's teams. That means one weight category in two men's events (freestyle and greco-roman) will be dropped with two categories being added for the women.
Bozeman Hawk wrestling coach Nate Laslovich says wrestling was one of the biggest events in the first Olympic games and this win is key for the sports growth.
"Every wrestler in America felt great when they heard that on Sunday," he said. "Text messages were going out like crazy. I was golfing and got a text message that said, 'Hey we're in!"
Laslovich says that though wrestling has gotten a small victory, it will be crucial now to make sure it can make itself a core sport in the Olympics moving forward.
"Being as it's gonna be on the short list for the 2020 and 2024 Olympics, now the goal is to try and make sure we get it in as a core sport beyond 2024."
The Olympics are the highest level a wrestler can reach in their career and Laslovich says this reinstatement has kept many athletes dreams alive.
"The nice thing is it's still a dream so they can look at it and go 'hey that's what I want to do someday.' It's kind of like the saying 'shoot for the moon you might land on a star' type of deal. It's awesome for any kid that wrestles and dreams of being an Olympian."