Wrestling Wins Fight For 2020 Games Spot
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Wrestling completed an unprecedented Olympic comeback on Sunday (September 8), reclaiming its spot in the 2020 Olympic Games after beating bids from rivals squash and baseball/softball in an International Olympic Committee vote. An iconic Olympic sport, wrestling featured in the ancient Olympics as well as every modern Games apart from 1900. Yet it surprisingly lost its Olympic spot in February as the IOC looked to refresh its sports programme.

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SHOWS: BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (SEPTEMBER 8, 2013) (INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (IOC) - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) 1. NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS 2. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INTERNATIONAL WRESTLING FEDERATION (FILA) PRESIDENT, NENAD LALOVIC, SAYING: "Today we are happy but tomorrow morning we start to work. We have the world championships in 10 days and all the commissions have to start work immediately because we did this in six months, what we have to do in the next four years is more difficult, maybe." 3. NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS 4. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INTERNATIONAL WRESTLING FEDERATION (FILA) PRESIDENT, NENAD LALOVIC, SAYING: "What we tried to do is update our sport. To make it more spectacular, more watchable, make the rules understandable, and that is the only way to fill the wrestling halls. And that is the goal for every sport, for the governors. And also to be, as I said in my speech, an accessory for the sport and athletes." 5. NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS 6. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INTERNATIONAL WRESTLING FEDERATION (FILA) PRESIDENT, NENAD LALOVIC, SAYING: "We did all the changes in governance, constitution, formation of different departments and commissions. We improved participation of women in sport, in governance as well as the athletes. We changed the rules; this is the most important thing too. It's not easy." 7. NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS 8. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INTERNATIONAL WRESTLING FEDERATION (FILA) PRESIDENT, NENAD LALOVIC, TALKING ABOUT ALLEGED CORRUPTION IN THE SPORT, SAYING: "Yes, I have heard that word in the hall in one of the questions but it's not easy to speak about it; we don't have any kind of evidence, we have suspicions and this is all. This is not an issue for us, if it was, it is the past, we are turned towards the future and we want our federation to go in a different way, in a modern way, in a completely transparent way." 9. NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS STORY: Wrestling completed an unprecedented Olympic comeback on Sunday (September 8), reclaiming its spot in the 2020 Olympic Games after beating bids from rivals squash and baseball/softball in an International Olympic Committee vote. An iconic Olympic sport, wrestling featured in the ancient Olympics as well as every modern Games apart from 1900. Yet it surprisingly lost its Olympic spot in February as the IOC looked to refresh its sports programme. It is the first sport to earn back its Olympic place immediately, with all other returning events taking years or decades to make a comeback. "Today we are happy but tomorrow morning we start to work," a delighted international wrestling federation (FILA) president Nenad Lalovic told reporters. "We have the world championships in 10 days and all the commissions have to start work immediately because we did this in six months, what we have to do in the next four years is more difficult. Lalovic had said in his presentation to the IOC prior to the vote that "today is the most important day in the 3000-year history of our sport". The burly Serb had taken over in February after their Olympic exit and had been credited with bringing the sport back into contention after wrestling made a shortlist of candidate sports in May. Sunday's result marks a sensational turnaround for the sport which overhauled its rules, administration, gender equality and operations following its shock exclusion. The IOC had said at the time, wrestling had failed to modernise, becoming complacent over decades amid waning interest. "What we tried to do is update our sport," Lalovic said. "To make it more spectacular, more watchable, make the rules understandable and that is the only way to fill the wrestling halls. And that is the goal for every sport, for the governors. And also to be, as I said in my speech, an accessory for the sport and athletes. "We did all the changes in governance, constitution, formation of different departments and commissions. We improved participation of women in sport, in governance as well as the athletes. We changed the rules; this is the most important thing too. It's not easy." Lalovic was asked during the presentation about alleged corruption in the sport before he took charge in February, but the Serb said if it ever did happen it is now in the past. "Yes, I have heard that word in the hall in one of the questions but it's not easy to speak about it; we don't have any kind of evidence, we have suspicions and this is all," he said. "This is not an issue for us, if it was, it is the past, we are turned towards the future and we want our federation to go in a different way, in a modern way, in a completely transparent way." The sport got 49 of 95 votes, with baseball/softball earning 24 and squash landing 22 votes from the IOC members. The result was crushing news for both of the others sports that have been trying to win a spot in the Games for as much as a decade. Baseball and softball, Olympic sports until the 2008 Beijing Games, hoped for a return to the Olympic fold. Squash, the only one of the three never to have featured in the Olympics, was making its third consecutive bid after failures in 2005 and 2009.