It was only less than three years ago when the prospect of wrestling getting eliminated from the Olympic program became a very real possibility. But as soon as the sport was placed on the chopping block, changes were made to ensure that wrestling, which has been contested at every Olympics in the modern era, would continue to be part of the greatest spectacle in sports.
Those changes are being showcased this week in Las Vegas as wrestling crowns its final world champions before Rio 2016. The city was chosen shortly after the IOC’s recommendation to drop the sport, hoping that the location would help refresh wrestling’s image. The governing body was re-branded from International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) to a much simpler United World Wrestling (UWW). And Nenad Lalovic took over, leading the sport’s reboot. Lalovic has worked on making wrestling more appealing to television viewers while bettering equality between men and women in the sport.
The U.S. is hosting the world championships for the first time since 2003, with American hopes pinned (no pun intended) on Jordan Burroughs, Olympic champion and current world number one in the men’s 74kg freestyle category.
The two-time champion talked to Fox Sports before the world championships:
“I feel great. This is just a stepping stone for where I want to be in 2016 and I know everybody is prepping for Rio, but any time you get the chance to wrestle for a world championship is a huge event,” Burroughs told FOX Sports. “It will be extremely enjoyable and I’m just worried about bringing a high performance this year, thinking less about the result and more about the performance.
“I know if I wrestle well and if I compete to the best of my ability, I’ll be successful.”
The event runs through Saturday with the top six in each event guaranteeing a spot for their countries in Rio. UWW is live streaming the entire event from Orleans Arena here.
PERFECT TEN: American Eight Capture 10th Straight Major Rowing Title
The United States women’s eight dominated at the World Rowing Championships in Lac Aiguebelette, France over the weekend, defeating the rest of the field by 2.87 seconds, to win its 10th straight global title.
The Americans have won every world championship race since 2006, as well as Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012.
The U.S. women also took gold in the women’s quad event for the first time ever and also took home bronze in the women’s pair. But as Zolan V Kanno-Youngs writes, there hasn’t been much attention to the Americans’ recent success on the water.
Sibling Rivalry: Looking Back at Family Affairs At The Olympics
Serena Williams defeated her older sister Venus in three sets on Tuesday night at the U.S. Open, keeping her campaign for a calendar grand slam in tennis alive as the top-seed advanced to the semifinals.
Surprisingly enough, while the two have combined to win four Olympic gold medals over the last decade and a half, the two siblings have never actually faced each other at an Olympic Games. This had me thinking, what famous sibling rivalries have transpired on the biggest stage in all of sports.
The most recent memory of siblings battling each other are Great Britain’s Brownlee Brothers, who finished gold-bronze at the London Olympics in the men’s triathlon.
There’s the Hamm brothers in gymnastics, but this American set of twins worked more together than did against each other. Paul ended up having more success than Morgan, winning the individual all-around title in 2004.
There were seven sets of siblings competing for the United States at Sochi 2014, breaking the U.S. Winter Games record of six set in 1964. And more often than not, it’s better for siblings to work together as a team. It often brings greater results. Just ask the Williams sisters: