As a lifelong supporter of wrestling and head coach at Berwick for a quarter of a century, Ernie Yates has seen many things occur in the sport.
But he didn't think he'd ever see the day come when wrestling was removed from the Olympics.
That day came Tuesday, when the International Olympic Committee voted to remove the sport for the 2020 games.
I was totally shocked. I thought wrestling was a historical aspect of the Olympics, Yates said. I don't think people who aren't around it know the love the people around it have.
Wrestling has a huge following and partly because it was one of the first sports to be involved in the Olympics when the worldwide games began in 708 B.C. then again when the games resumed in 1896. Just search on the Internet or Twitter and you will find hundreds of outcries for the sport to remain on the summer 2020 schedule. It's not just on the national level either.
Yates said he was surprised that his team knew about the news prior to practice since it broke during the school day and it really hit the wrestlers in his wrestling room hard.
The kids were very upset by it, Yates said. They are in tune to what's going on in the national level. They might not have the privilege to go, but going out to Olympic qualifiers is great. Now, they will have the world championships, but the Olympics is a world athletic event and something special.
With so many against the change, it's possible the sport will be added back to the slate since it is seven years away and it joins seven other sports in applying for the 2020 games, but that's unlikely to happen soon after being voted off so recently. However, if a protest begins maybe the sport's inclusion could get clearer. The other sports vying for a single opening in 2020 are a combined bid from baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu – a martial art.
In a story from the Associated Press, there were several reasons why wrestling was voted off with most of them due to low interest.
The Olympics have changed so much they want snowboarding and these x-sports, Yates added. I don't know if they're looking for revenue, but I think they're making a big mistake.
Yates also said he doesn't think this will deter kids from wanting to wrestle, because there are many other factors that could do that, but it will create a complete consternation from the national level down to the local level.