IOA president Isidoros Kouvelos disagrees with wrestling decision

Isidoros Kouvelos

International Olympic Academy (IOA) president Isidoros Kouvelos called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to respect the historical roots of the Olympics and not remove wrestling from the Olympics starting in the 2020 edition.

"Wrestling remains inseparable from the concept of the Olympic Games which would be inconceivable without this historic sport in its programme. It is certain, moreover, that there is no future for the Olympic Games if we do not respect its historical roots," Kouvelos wrote in a letter sent to IOC president Jacques Rogge.

Kouvelos, who was chief of Greece's London Olympics mission and is general secretary of the International Committee of Mediterranean Games, said he was saddened by the decision last week of the 15-strong IOC Executive Board to recommend to the wider IOC membership the removal of wrestling from the Olympic Games.

"Knowing your sensitivity to what is related to the tradition of the Olympics which has survived unchanged for tens of centuries, I'm sure the IOC will listen to the reaction of the sporting world and will reassess this proposal, correcting a big mistake," Kouvelos wrote to Rogge.

Kouvelos called on Rogge "not to retreat from the modern voices leading to the detachment of the traditions of the Olympic movement."

The International Olympic Academy, established in 1949 by the IOC and assigned its implementation and operation to the Hellenic Olympic Committee, functions as a multicultural interdisciplinary centre that aims at studying, enriching and promoting the Olympic Ideal.

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