Young wrestlers excited about Olympic return


Seven months after losing its place in the Olympics, wrestling has been reinstated in the 2020 games which will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Olympic wrestling is the biggest stage for a wrestler with dreams of being a world class athlete. Children grow up with hopes of being successful athletes, and without the Olympics, youth wrestlers would have fewer outlets for stardom.

Many Bellevue West wrestlers have wrestled all their lives through BJSA, YMCA, or other organizations.

“If there is no Olympic outlet, well, there isn’t much of a reason for schools to support wrestling,” senior Bellevue West varsity wrestler Colten McCauley said.

McCauley has wrestled since he was a child and thinks Olympic wrestling should always be included in the games.

“After the decision was made to take wrestling out of the Olympics was announced, shock reverberated in the wrestling community,” Bellevue West teacher Jodi Grice said.

The wrestling community responded and fought to get wrestling back on schedule for the 2020 games.

“Getting wrestling back in the Olympics was all over Facebook and Twitter. It was a huge collective of people who understand the teachings of wrestling that got it back in the Olympics,” McCauley said.

For some, wrestling is a way of life, and may be just as important and school.

“Wrestling truly is teaching about life. They learn loyalty, dedication, hard work, sportsmanship, and so on. Team sports are good, but they can’t teach self-reliance like wrestling can,” Grice said.

With all that wrestling offers for a persons character, there is no surprise in the voice of the wrestling faithful coming after the sport was voted out of the games.

“[Wrestling was reinstated by] the push of people who have wrestled and people who currently wrestle banning together and fighting to get wrestling back in the games,” McCauley said.

Wrestling was chosen over baseball and squash.

“The majority of countries compete in the sport. It doesn’t matter how big your country is you can still have wrestling,” Bellevue West varsity wrestling coach Jerry Schumacher said.

Wrestling is a world-wide appreciated sport and without the Olympics as a goal, there seems to be no way for international success.

“The backlash to eliminating wrestling is that it doesn’t just affect the elite athletes, it can hurt the college level, which then can hurt the high school level and beyond. The Olympics is the ultimate stage for a wrestler,” Grice said.

The Grices do a lot of travelling for their sons, Gabe and Garrett, to wrestle on the National level.

“One of my boys has mentioned having Olympic dreams in the past but it’s not something that is frequently talked about,” Grice said.

According to Wrestling USA Magazine rankings, Gabe Grice, 11, ended last season ranked #1 nationally and Garrett, 10, was #3 ranked nationally. Gabe was also #1 the year before and #2 two years ago.

Team Grice has had the opportunity to train with several Olympians. They have also had the opportunity to train with some Division I wrestling coaches and wrestlers, including their coach and father, Clayton Grice. Grice wrestled at North Carolina State (1989-1993) where he won the All-ACC title twice.

Whether you are a college, high school or youth wrestler, the Olympics are once again reachable for you if you have enough drive.

“I have some individuals that can move on to that level. It is up to them if they want to put in that much time and work,” Schumacher said.

Nick Wilkinson
Sports Editor