Ancient Olympia – the birthplace of the Olympics in Greece – will host an international wrestling competition this weekend as part of campaign to restore the sport to the Games.
Wrestling is bidding against squash and softball-baseball's joint campaign to be included in the Olympic fold from the 2020 Games, ahead of the International Olympic Committee's selection of one sport this September. Greek sporting authorities and government have thrown their weight behind wrestling's campaign and have agreed to host a tournament at the Ancient Olympia site, despite it normally being off limits to sporting competitions.
The head of the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) Nenad Lalovic said: “This was the birthplace of wrestling…so we are going back to our roots. We were very happy to be allowed to use a place like this for a wrestling tournament — and we’re very thankful.”
Greek deputy minister for sport Yiannis Andrianos added: “We are determined to offer every possible form of support to keep wrestling in Olympic competition. It’s an obligation we have both to modern Olympic history…and in our roles as guardians of the heritage and spirit of the ancient games. Wrestling is a connection between the two.”