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Wrestling Community Slams Decision to Drop Sport From Olympic Games

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Rochester: Wrestling Community Slams Decision to Drop Sport From Olympic Games
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After being part of the Olympics since the original games in ancient Greece, wrestling is on the way out. The International Olympic Committee's Executive Board voted to no longer include the sport beginning with the 2020 Summer Games. The decision isn't sitting well with the wrestling community.

Don Murray has coached wrestling at the College at Brockport for 43 years. He's never had a losing season.

Murray is well known in the wrestling world for guiding the Golden Eagles to five NCAA Division III National Championships and producing more than 130 All-Americans.

Murray says he was shocked to learn wrestling is being eliminated from the Olympic Games.

"It caught everybody by surprise. FILA is the governing body for wrestling for the world and it caught them completely by surprise. It wasn't done on the first ballot; I think there were seven or eight ballots before they lost it."

Murray's coaching success isn't limited to the College at Brockport. He's traveled the world with various United States wrestling teams and believes politics will play a role in getting the sport reinstated to the Olympic Games.

The IOC will hold two more votes on the status of wrestling; one in May and another in September. Until then, Murray says the wrestling community will fight for its sports. He believes delegates from eastern European nations may be the key to swaying the committee.

"You talk about Bulgaria and all of those countries, it's their national sport and they will really push for that. It's going to have a lot more repercussions in those areas than possibly even the U.S. because that's it."

Many young athletes at the high school and collegiate levels aim for a career in professional sports. But for wrestlers, their goal is the Olympic Games.

One of Murray's wrestlers reached that goal. Frank Famiano competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

"It really is upsetting because there is no kind of pro circuit for wrestling so that's the highest level that you can get to, so to take that away it brings you down because after college there's nothing to do," said Jordan Dyer, College at Brockport wrestler.

Murray says the fate of wrestling in the Olympics is in the hands of the IOC's 15-member Executive Board. He's hopeful the sports Olympic history will persuade those who voted wrestling out of the Games to change their minds.

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