Thousands of people are expected to visit Rabobank Arena over the next few days as the state-wrestling tournament gets underway, but the matches seem to be far from people’s minds.
The future of wrestling at the 2020 Olympic games is all the buzz as people from all over the state arrive here in Bakersfield.
David Jepsen enjoys wrestling and has worked hard just to get all the way to the state tournament.
“It’s just an all around great sport. There’s no one else to depend on. You’re all by yourself. It teaches you to be dependent on yourself,” he said.
On the mat, Jepsen focuses on his opponent and off he thinks about the future of the sport he loves so much.
“It’s our one way to go to college. We go to the Olympics that are all of our goals. It’s kind of taking away our dream,” said David Jepsen of Fresno.
The International Olympic Committee voted last month to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympic games, a move that has disappointed many fans.
“If you are from a poor country where you can’t afford all the equipment that all these other sports takes, anyone can wrestle. A lot of the third world countries, they have wrestling teams and all they need is the shoes,” said Mike Seals of Orange County.
Several people have taken to social media to express their support including a fan page called “Keep wrestling in the Olympics,” on Facebook.
“It’s one-on-one, you can’t change that, you can’t beat that, it’s you against somebody else and you have to earn your win,” said Eli Bagaoisan of Union City.
Fans worried about the future of wrestling say getting rid of it in 2020 is a big mistake.
“Not a good thing, not a good thing. It’s not a good thing for wrestling, it’s not a good thing not having it in the Olympics,” he said.
But others are convinced the sport won’t be going anywhere.
“I don’t think they are going yank it, I think they are going to get it back,” said a young wrestler.
Wrestling will be part of the 2016 Olympic games and that’s where another meeting is schedule to take place before committee members have a final vote.
Meanwhile, the state tournament continues all weekend long.