"I think it says that they made a mistake, and there's no doubt about that," Brands said about the outcry to keep Olympic wrestling. "You don't want to pick a fight with a wrestler."
The process to eliminate wrestling has left many in the U.S. shaking their heads.
The IOC board voted after reviewing a report by its program commission report that analyzed 39 criteria, including television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity. But the final decision by the 15-member board was also subject to political, emotional and sentimental factors.
Former U.S. Olympic champion Kurt Angle, a professional wrestler for the last seven years with TNA Wrestling, said he's hopeful that TNA and WWE wrestling can team up with USA Wrestling to help make a push to save the sport's inclusion. The one thing everyone associated with American wrestling seems to agree on is that the sport's elimination from the Olympics would be a major blow — one they vow to fight for as long as they have to.
"The Americans have been such a big success. I'm hoping the IOC doesn't have something against the American community," Angle said. "This is hard. This is going to hurt college programs. This is going to hurt MMA. Most of all, it's going to affect all those kids, the dreams of wanting to be an Olympic champion. I think everybody's in shock."
AP Sports Writers Genaro Armas in State College, Pa. and Dan Gelston in Philadelphia contributed to this report.
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