The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

February 23, 2013

New wrestling chief promises swift rules overhaul

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany — Wrestling needs to overhaul its often mystifying rules while the sport seeks to retain its Olympic status, according to the new interim president of the international wrestling federation.

Wrestling is partly to blame for the International Olympic Committee’s decision to drop the sport from the 2020 games, Nenad Lalovic told The Associated Press by phone on Saturday. Wrestling needs more user-friendly rules that would benefit spectators, television and athletes, Lalovic said.

“If an Olympic champion of 20 years ago were to attend a wrestling tournament now, he probably could not tell what is going on,” Lalovic said from his headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland, the seat of FILA, the international governing body.

The overtime draw – in which a wrestler draws a colored ball to determine his or her position – and the clinch are among the chief complaints of spectators and broadcasters.

“Wrestling has become a sport purely for experts. We have to have seminars for referees before major events,” he said. “The rules have to be clearer and the sport more attractive and spectacular. I would like a spectator to come into an area and know all the rules by the time he or she goes out.”

He’d also like to have a ranking and seeding system.

“Now, you can have the champion lose in the very first bout in the morning,” he said.

At some tournaments, wrestlers can end up having as many as seven bouts in a day.

“Our first priority is to change the rules, but it cannot happen overnight,” he said.

He said wrestling was caught off guard by the IOC decision. The move has forced wrestling, one of the earliest sports in the Olympics, to compete with fringe sports for a spot on the 2020 program.

No longer one of the 25 core Olympic sports in 2020, wrestling is among other contenders – baseball and softball, squash, wakeboarding, sport climbing, roller sports and the martial arts of karate and wushu – for the 2020 Olympics.

“It was completely unexpected for FILA,” Lalovic said.

The IOC executive board will meet in May in St. Petersburg, Russia, to choose which sports to propose for inclusion in 2020. The final vote will be made at the IOC general assembly in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Lalovic, a Serb, became FILA’s interim president one week ago, following the resignation of Raphael Martinetti at the federation’s executive committee meeting in Thailand.

While wrestling may have been the target of pressure and lobbying by other sports, Lalovic acknowledged there had been problems in the flow of information between FILA and the IOC.

Lalovic recently returned from Moscow and said Russia was mounting opposition to the IOC’s decision “in relation to the importance of wrestling in the country.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has said the country will do everything it can to help wrestling. Russia has dominated the sport in the last two decades.

Iran and the United States have established a rare alliance to keep wrestling Olympic despite political hostility between them.

“The Olympic spirit was born with wrestling,” Lalovic said.

Wrestling was part of the games in ancient Greece and featured in the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Penguins 0419 Blue Jackets outlast Pens in double-OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
    Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stuffed the initial shot by Cam Atkinson but Calvert stood all alone at the left post and wristed a shot into the open net to even the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at one game each.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0419 Brewers rally to clip Pirates

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area runners gearing for Boston Marathon

    The time was 12:15 p.m. It was Monday April 19, 1897.  Tom Burke had drawn a line across the dirt road with his foot. Eighteen men gathered near Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland, Massachusetts.

    April 19, 2014

  • SRU vs UPJ baseball0418 1 UPJ takes one, drops second

    John Fees’ spring baseball season accurately mirrors that of his Pitt-Johnstown team.
    Fees started slow, losing his first four decisions, but has rebounded nicely in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0418 Brewers ward off late Pirates rally bid

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drama lacking sans Tiger

    If professional golf saw its future at Augusta National last weekend, the sight had to be worse than choking on a 5-foot putt.
    The course was there in all its splendor.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penguins 0418 Penguins are wary of spunky Blue Jackets

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0417 Pirates power past Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
    Harrison’s two-run drive down the left field line off Rob Wooten (0-1) was the second of his career as a pinch hitter.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0417 Jackets preparing for Game 2

    The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t feel they’re doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
    “It’s not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday’s optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 17, 2014

AP Sports Video
Poll

Should the NFL get rid of the extra-point attempt after a touchdown?

Yes
No
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow