WAYNESBURG – At first, Coleman Scott could not believe what he was watching. He heard the newscaster’s words but couldn’t quite comprehend what it meant.
Something about eliminating wrestling after the 2016 Olympic games.
No, that couldn’t be right. Could it?
Unfortunately, the Waynesburg native was not dreaming or delusional.
The International Olympic Committee’s decision to eliminate wrestling for the 2020 games was very real, and Scott found out about it on an airport television monitor while heading for a World Team wrestling event in Iran last month.
The news made the 26-year-old speechless and many others who support the sport furious. Petitions were circulated on the Internet, the sports’ greatest competitors were united in their crticism and now the head coach of the Bulgaria team has gone on a hunger strike until March 22 to protest.
“On my way there, I had a layover in Germany and saw it on the BBC News,” he said. “At first, I thought that because I was so tired and delirious, I was wrong. Then, I watched it in disbelief. It came right out of the blue. I had no clue. The other wrestlers came in after me, and they didn’t see it on the news. They didn’t believe me.”
Suddenly, the bronze freestyle medalist in the 2012 Olympic Games in London was looking at not only the end of his Olympic competition in 2016, but also the elimination of wrestling as a core sport.
“They said they took it out of the core sports, which I don’t understand why considering it was one of the core sports,” said Scott. “There are some interesting facts when you look at who is on the IOC board and what their relatives do, and what they are involved in. So it’s hard not to believe that pockets got greased. I’ll never know for sure.”
Scott was in Waynesburg Monday to attend a Read Across America event at the Waynesburg Central Elementary School, located right across the road from the high school where Scott won three PIAA wrestling titles.
Scott, who paid the travel expenses from Stillwater, Okla, read to two groups at the school and planned on attending a varsity wrestling practice at the high school before heading back home today.
A meeting to discuss the possibility of reinstating wrestling to the Olympics will be held in May in Russia.
“Our coaches said, ‘You can’t worry about that now. You have to worry about what your goal is. We’ll get this thing back, so just worry about what you have to do.’”
Scott hasn’t let the IOC decision keep him down, and he is training hard for another run at the national team competition in April in Las Vegas, then the World Team Trials in June in Stillwater.
“It’s the largest tournament in the world and something you’ve dreamed about for a long time,” Scott said of the Olympics. “You have to just stick to the path of what you want to do and that end goal. You stick to your struggles and go through your ups and downs. There’s nothing better than getting there and fulfilling a dream, and looking back and saying I’m glad I pushed through this situation. This is what got me here. It was the most fun (training). I love going into practice. Of course, it’s going to be hard, but it’s supposed to be.”