BROOKINGS, SD -
Wrestling is making an Olympic comeback. The International Olympic Committee overwhelmingly voted to keep it as an Olympic sport. It's a reversal that's scoring big points for those who enjoy the sport, which has ancient ties to the games.
Seven months after losing its Olympic status, wrestling was reinstated for the 2020 Games. The IOC overturned its earlier decision, which many thought was a mistake.
"When that was gone, it was like what else is there to look forward too after college, after these years," South Dakota State wrestler Brandon Brunner said.
Brunner is only a freshman, but he's an Olympic hopeful.
"That's been my goal; that's been my dream since wrestling in the 3rd grade and all through the years," Brunner said.
His coach wanted to win an Olympic gold medal himself. Even though he never qualified for the games, knowing wrestling was an Olympic sport kept him motivated to keep trying.
"It was a dream I had, one I think it molded my life for 20 years. I was chasing my dream and taught me a lot about hard work and about values and for someone not allowed to have that dream would have been crazy," SDSU wrestling coach Chris Bono said.
In wrestling, when your backs are on the mat, you fight. This time the entire wrestling community had their backs against the wall and won.
"I don't think anybody lost faith. We're the oldest sport, we were in the first Olympic games and I think the IOC recognized that," Bono said.
When the news broke that the IOC reversed its decision, a room full of wrestlers at SDSU reacted as if they just pinned another opponent.
"We all jumped and yelled. We were excited because most of the guys in that room, 2020 that's our dream," Brunner said.
Wrestling defeated bids from baseball-softball and squash to be included in the games. It will now join the program of the 2020 Games, which were awarded to Tokyo on Saturday.
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