Youth sports remains an activity in which boys receive more resources and opportunities than girls. The road to equality in youth sports would be far smoother if elite sports organizations took the lead in committing to greater girls' and women's participation. FILA, the international governing body for wrestling, had an opportunity Wednesday night to demonstrate its commitment to equality and fair play in sport, but unfortunately fell flat on its face.
You may recall that the International Olympic Committee Executive Board created controversy in February when it dropped wrestling from the "core" sports for the 2020 Olympic Games. Among the reasons cited for the decision was FILA's failure to adequately support women in the sport. Since February, FILA has been campaigning hard to keep wrestling on the Olympic program. Wednesday, with FILA's full cooperation, the U.S., Russia and Iran staged a wrestling competition at New York's Grand Central Terminal dubbed the Rumble on the Rails. FILA's Acting President Nenad Lalovic traveled to New York to attend a press conference at the United Nations promoting the event, which the federation viewed as a key part of it public relations effort.
The Ruble on the Rails could have been a great way to dispel the IOC's concerns about FILA. Right? Well, take a look at the list of matches: 16 contests -- 15 for men, 1 for women. Seriously guys? This is what happens when women are excluded from leadership positions. FILA's leadership includes an acting president, four vice presidents and a general secretary. Do you think any of these administrators is a woman? You know the answer. Every one of them is a man.
Wrestling, you guys need to get a grip!