November 15, 2021
by April Ann Brillantes
The Olympic Games are the biggest and most anticipated international sports event in the world. It is separated into two seasons, the Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics. Over 200 nations participate in this massive event. Thousands of participants from each nation take part in this to prove that they are the best in their field of sport, to represent their country, and to take home the bacon which is the gold medal of the Olympics for which these athletes sacrifice their entire early life to hone their skills and make it to this event.
When the International Olympic Committee or IOC mentioned removing certain sports in the Olympic Games, boxing and weightlifting were high in their list on getting removed. With the risk of having these sports ousted from the games, many athletes who participated in this athletic event, as well as the viewers of Olympics were displeased of the idea as they thought it could ruin the Olympics. Such announcement left many athletes from this area of sport devastated and feel lost.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided on this idea when it gave its members more power on removing a sport to keep the integrity of the games and not have its name tarnished. The two sports were brought up due to a long issue with corruption, poor management, and non-compliance with IOC executive board decisions. Weightlifting risk the highest of getting dropped in the Olympic Games as it continues on a long-running case of doping, bribery, poor management, and financial corruption. With the risk of getting dropped, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has to fix its problems of governance and add a new rigorous drug testing measure. This threatens IWF and most importantly the athletes who dedicated their lives to being Olympic weightlifters.
Olympic boxing which is one of the most ancient of Olympic sports is also facing the risk of being removed from the Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee. Not as high of a risk as weightlifting, but its problems may warrant removal by the IOC due to many years of problems that include wronged and unfair judging, along its controversies of officiating members and management which has lasted up to the present Olympics as many of the Olympic boxers cry in outrage at the injustice and corruption.
“Have you seen an Olympic boxing match before?”, “Have you heard your friends or people talk about Olympic boxing?” These questions are asked and reasons why Olympic boxing is not as popular as the other sports. The fights are shorter than what people are normally used to. The Olympics boxing fights are in three rounds, each round having three minutes which is basically like amateur boxing. Boxers had to wear headgear, and was only lifted back in 2013 when they no longer need to wear any which made the participants look professional, however, the three rounds game still holds it back.
US head Coach Billy Walsh had said, “Sometimes a boxer is just getting going, and it’s already over.” As boxers in the first few rounds need to get a feel of their opponent before they get into the real battle, which is the exciting part of boxing, it lacks the violence that everyone would expect, especially with the very strict protection standards Olympic rules have in place. Then, there is the bribery issue with the judges which is best shown in the investigation paper of the Rio 2016 Olympics by Prof Richard McLaren as evidences of manipulation, corruption, and bribery have been brought to light.
The threats of removal of the said sports from the Olympic Games may seem unfair and unjust to most people, but the decision seems to validate and for the better of the Olympic Games reputation even if it seemed to have taken them decades to respond to these issues. Corruption and doping have always been a problem in the most top level of sports and every athlete, coach, or those who follow competitive sports know this. A drug test can be avoided by simply not taking another dose months or weeks before a competition. There is also the case of bribery and manipulation of data, and one of the biggest offenders here are China and Russia. Doping in weightlifting is so rampant that it became a common knowledge for sports fans, unless, if the IWF will follow through and bring actual change in their governing body and better screening for doping then the future of Olympic weightlifting looks grim. The choice of pulling out Olympic boxing is probably for the better, if not, better rules should be implemented in Olympic boxing, and make it interesting and exciting to watch, avoiding being always at the bottom of the Olympic Games.