No respect for wrestling, an Olympic sport we'll soon forget

Jerry Greene reminds us of the many Olympic sports that have faded from the spotlight

We get no respect."

That's the card football teams love to play. Trust me, even Alabama was telling itself that it gets no respect. And if Notre Dame wasn't saying it, the Foldin' Irish should be saying it now.

But there is another sport that has a legitimate gripe about lacking respect. That's wrestling (the unscripted kind), which apparently is going to be kicked out of the Olympics.

Wrestling, at least, is not going quietly into the night as countries as diverse as the United States and Iran are uniting in protest. One wrestler just returned his Olympic gold medal from 1996 even though the only result of that may be that he now has a conspicuously bare spot on his mantel.

And here is the sad truth: The protests probably won't matter and the rest of us will quickly forget wrestling ever was an Olympic sport. Don't believe me? Here are some sports that once were in the Olympics but are not now:

• Power boating — Yes, in the London Olympics of 1908. I don't think they included bass fishing but who remembers?

Jeu de paume — I'm told the sports' name is French for "game of the palm." Before you hide this column from your kids, apparently it's tennis without rackets or handball without walls. It, too, ended in 1908 so I'm beginning to think that must have been a jolly time in London.

Polo — Actually in five Olympics, ending in 1936. Get this: the horses won medals although I can't find out if they got to be on the medals stand.

Others included cricket (only 1900 in Paris), golf (1900 and 1904), lacrosse (1904 and '08), and my personal favorite: tug-of-war (six times ending in 1920).

Don't forget 'demonstration sports'

The Olympics often include demonstrations of sports, usually supported by folks who hope their sport will become a regular on the Olympic schedule. These sports have included:

Jai alai — My all-time favorite sport was a legitimate part of the 1900 Olympics and a demonstration sport (as Basque pelota) in 1924, '68 and '92.

Lifesaving in 1900. — Seriously. I'm told it is part of the World Games now and includes the thrilling "saving a manikin" maneuver.

Gliding — It actually was elevated to an official Olympic sport for the 1940 Games. Alas, there were no '40 Games due to another numerical event: World War II.

So, if you love a sport that is not getting any respect now -- never. give. up. Although if you are thinking World of Warcraft, you might need to wait until the rest of us catch up to your advanced competitive stage.

Greatest TV dramas

You can read about the Oscars elsewhere. The current issue of "TV Guide" includes an all-time Top 10 list of TV dramas, which includes: 10, "Thirtysomething;" 9, "ER;" 8, "The Defenders;" 7, "The West Wing;" 6, "Mad Men;" 5, "The Wire;" 4, "The Twilight Zone;" 3, "Masterpiece;" 2, "The Sopranos;" and 1, "Hill Street Blues."

A classy list — but not my list. Here's my list:

10, "Battlestar Galactica" (the remake); 9, "Star Trek: The Next Generation;" 8, "Magnum, P.I.;" 7, "Doctor Who;" 6, "The Twilight Zone;" 5, "Lost;" 4, "Deadwood;" 3, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," 2, "The X-Files;" and the best show there ever will be, 1, "Star Trek (the original)."

As you can see, I'm always looking for the intellectual challenge.

Featured Stories

CTnow is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.