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Local wrestlers react to decision to drop sport from 2020 Olympics

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 12 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 13 2013 07:35:55 PM CST

Some local wrestlers are hoping their sport isn't down for the count following a decision by the International Olympic Committee.

Some local wrestlers are hoping their sport isn't down for the count following a decision by the International Olympic Committee.

The IOC voted to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympic games.

The Bethlehem Catholic school wrestling team just won its third straight state title last weekend.

Two days later, teammates heard wrestling will not be included in the 2020 Summer Olympics.

"I didn't react to it well," said senior Ryan Todora. "It's a step back for wrestling as a whole."

"It shortens my time almost," added Darian Cruz, another Bethlehem Catholic senior. "Because I was definitely planning on being in the 2016 Olympics and continue to compete in the Olympics. It would have been the 2020."  

The announcement is also being felt a few miles south at Lehigh University.

Former Lehigh and Olympic coach, Greg Strobel, said the decision is shocking and will hurt the summer games.

"Wrestling is a sport that is practiced around the world," added Strobel. "When I saw the press release about well maybe the popularity wasn't there. Virtually every country in the world has some form of wrestling."

A lot of wrestlers said don't count out their sport because they are hoping the IOC will reconsider and reinstate the sport.

"All over the world wrestling people are rallying with what can we do," said Strobel.

"Pennsylvania being one of the elite wrestling states, it's hard to even fathom that they would not have it in the Olympics in 2020," added Cruz.

"I'm still going to try and do the best I can at any level I am at," said Toroda. "If there is that level when I get to that point then maybe we'll see me there."

The International Olympic Committee will look at the decision once again later this year before a final vote.