Just months after being cut, Olympic wrestling is back.
The International Olympic Committee voted Sunday to reinstate the sport for the 2020 and 2024 Olympics, the Associated Press reported. Wrestling beat out baseball, softball and squash.
“I’m really happy that it’s there,” said Gophers redshirt senior heavyweight Tony Nelson. “In the future, it’s a chance I might try for myself.”
Nelson is the two-time defending NCAA heavyweight champion.
The IOC dropped wrestling from its list of “core sports” in February to the disappointment of many fans and wrestlers, including Nelson.
“It was disappointing to see it gone,” he said. “Now that it’s back in, those opportunities are still available, which is awesome.”
The International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles responded to the sport’s removal by launching a six-month campaign to save its place in the Olympic Games.
Gophers head coach J Robinson was also a major proponent in the push to get wrestling back in the Olympics.
Keeping wrestling in the Olympics is critical for the sport’s future, Nelson said.
“It’s huge, especially at a younger age,” he said. “Kids want to get a gold medal. That’s the pinnacle of wrestling.”