Michael DerGarabedian, an attorney and a graduate of Baldwin Senior High School who was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame last April, has been nominated to a committee charged with the preservation of wrestling as an Olympic sport.
DerGarabedian is a criminal defense attorney at DerGarabedian, Dillon, Nathan, Marino & Rodriguez, and has practices in Rockville Centre, Manhattan and Miami. He was one of 19 people chosen for the committee, which was formed by USA Wrestling. Noel Thompson, a former Freeport High School and Hofstra star with experience in marketing and hedge fund management, is another member.
On Feb. 12, the 15-member International Olympic Committee executive board recommended that wrestling be dropped from the Olympic Games in 2020. The sport, which is still on the schedule for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has been a fixture at the Modern Olympics since they began in 1896, and was contested in the Ancient Olympics as well, first appearing 708 B.C.
According to reports in the Associated Press, the IOC reviewed 26 sports on its current summer roster, looking to replace one in 2020. (The host city for that year’s Summer Games has not yet been named.) The IOC analyzed 39 criteria, including ticket sales, global participation and popularity, along with TV ratings, in order to make its decision, according to the A.P. Wrestling was thought to have underperformed at the 2012 London Games. Although the sport sold approximately 114,000 of 117,000 available tickets, the events ranked just below a 5 on a 10-point popularity ranking, and did not produce what the IOC felt was sufficient press and Internet interest.
Pundits who observed the elimination process favored the modern pentathlon — a sport combining fencing, horsemanship, swimming, running and shooting — for elimination, and many were shocked when wrestling was named the odd sport out. Charges of favoritism and grandstanding accompanied the announcement, and continue to echo around the sporting world today.