WRESTLING SURVIVES: Voted Into 2020 Olympics

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Seven months after the International Olympic Committee removed wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games, the sport has been reinstated.

Wrestling was up against squash and baseball-softball for inclusion.

Wrestling received 49 votes, baseball-softball got 24 votes, and squash got 22.

Bringing the sport back was not only a statewide, but a nationwide effort.

When the IOC announced that wrestling was being removed from the 2020 games, it wasn't just legends like Dan Gable fighting to bring it back.

The sport's future champions pleaded for a chance to live their Olympic dreams.

"When I grow up, I want to be an Olympic wrestler," said Ayden Kingery, a 10 year old competitor.

"I want to wrestle for America,” said Anthony Zach, a young wrestler.

Politicians from across the state also got involved.

"Both of our senators, all four of our congressman, half of them are democrats, half of them are republicans, they said they wanted to be a part of it,” said Governor Terry Branstad.

Social media campaigns were even launched.

Everyone involved put in an Olympic champion effort that helped wrestling edge out competitors like baseball and squash for inclusion in the 2020 games.

An Olympic champion effort is something gold medalist and Iowa State head wrestling coach Kevin Jackson knows a little something about.

"It was almost like being in competition being again and winning in the last few minutes again of a match,” said Jackson.

Jackson says the efforts of the last six months need to continue if wrestling is going to avoid an Olympic takedown in the future.

“I don’t think we're out of the woods yet. I know that we're in the Olympics until 2024, but we may have to fight to stay in,” Jackson told Channel 13 News.

One of the voices of Iowa wrestling agrees, but says wrestling has plenty of story lines to keep the sport growing.

"This sport is filled with heart, passion, tears, and some of the greatest moments in sport. We just need to open our eyes and enjoy them,” said Scott Casber, Host of Takedown Wrestling.

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