Add Submission Grappling to the Olympics

I still can’t quite believe that wrestling has been taken out of the Olympics. It seems to me that the “dream” of Olympic gold in the minds young wrestlers today has been silenced. But perhaps as one door closes another one opens…

The growing popularity of MMA throughout the world means that even the youngest wrestlers are becoming aware of wrestling’s next door neighbor: submission grappling. Guillotines, rear naked chokes, triangles, armbars, kneebars, toe holds, etc. are all lurking in the shadows. The counter-intuitive notion that you can dominate an opponent off your back is no longer so counter-intuitive.

Maybe taking wrestling out of the Olympics is the first step in the sport’s evolution. The second step would be to add submission grappling. The more I thought about it in the last couple days, the more the ADCC version of the event seemed like a very real possibility:

Jiu jitsu is a little too boring for spectators. MMA is a little too violent. No-gi is (in some ways) the perfect compromise.

The only concern I have is the very fact that any of these changes are happening. For 70 years (since 1936) no sport was removed from the Olympics. Why are these changes happening now. If it’s because of “money”, why does money all of a sudden gain the power to change something that was unchanged for decades? The Olympics needs to be a slow-moving organization. It takes 15-20 years for an Olympic athlete to achieve world-class level from an early age. Changing rules (or worse, changing sports) throws a wrench into that very delicate process.

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