So much for TV's all-powerful, decision-driving role in sports.
A decision by the executive committee of the International Olympic Committee ousted wrestling from the 2020 Summer Games based more on politics than anything else.
The Olympics, always driven by political motives and especially so in regard to decision making at the international level, decided to keep modern pentathlon instead of wrestling -- at least in part because of the lobbying of Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., the son of the former IOC president and the vice president of the governing body for modern pentathlon. Junior also serves on the executive committee that made the decision to pin wrestling.
In viewership alone were considered, though, the decision would merit a reversal.
According to The Associated Press, citing global TV numbers, wrestling pulled an average of 23 million viewers and a maximum of 58.5 million during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. At the same time, modern pentathlon averaged 12.5 million viewers, with a maximum of 33.5 million.