Meadville Tribune


February 19, 2013

WALK TALK: Eliminating wrestling from the Olympics is ludicrous

1 The international wrestling community took a big hit when the International Olympic Committee announced that the sport was taken off the list of sports to compete at the 2020 Summer Games. It was totally unexpected and is absolutely ludicrous. Wrestling may not be as marketable as the IOC wants, but that’s not enough to eliminate a sport that was part of the original Olympic Games in 1896. From the elementary to junior high to high school to collegiate level, wrestlers are working their way up to someday be, they hope, an Olympic gold medalist. Wrestling doesn’t have a professional level — WWE and TNA are nothing like amateur wrestling — so taking away that Olympic option after college is earth-shattering to the sport.

2 With the possibility of wrestling not being part of the 2020 Games — the sport now joins baseball/softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu vying for one 2020 opening — it got me thinking what can be done to keep it in the Olympics. First off, none of those sports seem overwhelmingly popular enough to dethrone the history of wrestling. Baseball/softball has a following, but the MLB isn’t going to pause its season in August for the Olympics. The Tribune’s Matt Digiacomo brought up a good point a few days ago — why not put wrestling in the Winter Olympics? We’re already used to the sport taking place over the winter in this country, so it won’t be much of a stretch. And what else would it have to compete with other than ice hockey and figure skating? We’ll find out in September if wrestling gets back into the 2020 Summer Games. If not, the fight should begin for its inclusion in the 2022 Winter Games.

3 If wrestling does get the IOC boot, wrestling’s loss is mixed martial arts’ gain. It’s no secret that the best collegiate wrestlers are quickly infusing their talents into the world of MMA, but some of wrestling’s best competitors would rather fight for an Olympic medal in their traditional sport. And they’d rather not get punched in the face, even if the paycheck may be worth it. But without the possibility of Olympic glory, what else do elite wrestlers have left once they graduate college — other than MMA?

4 As a big fan of mixed martial arts, I’m often excited once a Saturday arrives and the UFC is set to put on a card. This week just has a whole new type of anticipation considering the organization will host its first ever women’s match — and it will feature Ronda Rousey, who in just a short period of time has done more for the sport than a number of UFC champions. I fully expect Rousey to win — and impressively — with her patented armbar submission. She’s already the biggest female name in the sport, but if she is as dominant as expected, don’t be surprised if she begins to be compared to the pound-for-pound best male fighters in the sport.

5 Rousey’s fight has received a ton of interest, but there’s a chance the co-main event between Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida overshadows the historic night for female MMA. Machida, a former UFC champion, and Henderson, one of the sport’s legends, will face off to decide the next contender to Jon Jones’ light heavyweight title. Machida is MMA’s best counter puncher, while Henderson has a brilliant overhand right that has put many fighters to sleep. And in another UFC fight of interest, Edinboro University graduate Josh Koscheck faces Robbie Lawler. Koscheck has lost two of his last four fights and needs a win over Lawler to remain relevant.

6 When the 2012 season ended, I didn’t have much hope for the immediate future of the Indians. But since the signing of manager Terry Francona, which provided instant credibility, that lack of hope changed. The presence of Francona, plus more than one hundred million dollars spent on Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and others, have changed the Indians from a bottom dweller to a postseason contender. Obviously, starting pitching is an unresolved issue and Cleveland teams have provided decades of disappointment. But Tribe fans have to be a little bit encouraged by the front office’s unusually aggressive offseason.

7 On the other hand, Pirates fans can’t be as enthused after how their team’s offseason transpired. The biggest move out of Pirates camp came when Andrew McCutchen was put on the cover of MLB ’13 The Show. They also traded away their All-Star closer and replaced him with 36-year-old Jason Grilli, who has exactly five saves in his MLB career. Pittsburgh didn’t add a bat to protect McCutchen and didn’t do much to add to its rotation other than bringing in an injured Francisco Liriano. They’ll have to rely on Pedro Alvarez improving his career .237 batting average and the emergence of pitchers Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole, who have thrown a combined six innings above the Double-A level, to even have a shot at winning 81 games.

8 Is it possible to clinch a regular-season NBA MVP award in the middle of February? The way LeBron James is playing, the answer to that question is a resounding yes. Kevin Durant, who is in line to lead the league in scoring for the fourth consecutive season, has had an MVP-worthy season too. But James is at a whole different level, most recently scoring 30-plus points and shooting 58-plus percent from the field over his last seven games. James has career highs in field-goal percentage (56.5), 3-point percentage (42.4) and rebounds per game (8.2) to go along with 27.3 points and 6.9 assists per tilt. The best player in the game is having the best season of his career. And he’s just reaching his prime.

9 The Heat may have just the fourth-best record in the NBA, but the reigning champions are still the No. 1 team in the association at the All-Star break. Some teams suffer through a championship hangover phase, but not Miami. The Heat made a big statement to the rest of the league by beating the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Thursday. Miami led 85-69 entering the fourth quarter of that game, even while Durant put up 40 points throughout the whole contest. A big thing that will help Miami defend its title is the dogfight in the Western Conference between the Spurs, Thunder, Clippers and Grizzles. The Heat don’t have that type of competition in the east and will be the fresher team in the finals.

10 The story of the gunshot death of Reeva Steenkamp is truly tragic, especially since her boyfriend Oscar Pistorus is accused of being the perpetrator. Pistorus, more affectionally known as the Blade Runner, was the feel-good story of the 2012 Summer Games after the double-amputee competed against able-bodied runners using cutting-edge prostheses. Pistorus is saying the shooting was out of self defense since he believed she was a burglar. The gun debate has really revved up over the last three months, and this is yet another sad story to put on the ever-growing list of incidents that may have never happened if not for the availability of a gun.

The preceding was Walk Talk, which runs in the Tribune's sports section every Tuesday. Assistant news editor Dan Walk can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

Text Only
  • Public pensions for private lobbyists under fire

    Employees of the Pennsylvania School Board Association don’t work for any of the state’s 500 local school districts — not directly, anyway. They lobby lawmakers on behalf of those districts for things like funding.

    April 20, 2014

  • Many veterans suffer PTSD, which needs to be dealt with

    Initially, I intended this article to be about PTSD “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” I wanted to write about the myths and misconceptions that those four words may hold. But as the days went by, the story just wouldn’t come together for me. Everything I typed seemed to miss something. There was no feeling.

    April 17, 2014

  • Journalists in combat zones ‘write with light’ while risking their lives

    I first heard the news on National Public Radio on my car radio. On April 4, the day before elections in Afghanistan, an Afghan military officer walked up to a car in a convoy and opened fire. Anja Niedringhaus, a staff photographer for The Associated Press, died instantly.

    April 16, 2014

  • There’s no war on men and boys — it’s quite the opposite

    Two weeks ago, Paul Dici submitted an column titled “It’s time to fight against the war on men and boys” (March 28). Mr. Dici would have us believe that men and boys are being “wussified” by a progressive agenda that may jeopardize our national security. Also, he makes the point that men and boys are not given the same advantages (programs) as women and girls.

    April 14, 2014

  • McCord outsourcing ‘scandal’ reminds me of Y2K fears

    With only seven weeks to go until the May primary election, the campaigns are expected to get a lot hotter and more negative.

    April 13, 2014

  • Can we trust luck when it comes to the nuclear industry?

    Let’s review the history to better understand a major concern of today.

    April 11, 2014

  • Aging — is it a disease to be cured?

    If you are already old, get ready for what comes next. If you are not old yet but on the way, it is not too early to start thinking about aging and dying, because both are part of being human.

    April 10, 2014

  • Local high school students help keep future of journalism bright

    Significant technological and economic changes have caused some to question the future of journalism, both as a viable business enterprise and as a potential career. But if the proceedings of the eighth annual Northwest Pennsylvania High School Journalism Day are any indication, journalism is alive and well, especially in Crawford County.

    April 10, 2014

  • Reps want to hang ‘English only’ sign at the Capitol

    Pennsylvania, it turns out, is one of 19 states that have failed to address the menace that is non-English. Or maybe it’s un-English? Or dis-English? There must be a word for it.

    April 8, 2014

  • The Arc: A welcoming community of support

    Let me give you some background about services that The Arc of Crawford, Warren and Forest counties provide to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These individuals are your neighbors, loved ones and family members.

    April 7, 2014 1 Story

Business Marquee
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide