After what seemed like a death sentence, the world’s amateur wrestling community rallied for a second chance at life and will vie with baseball and squash for a place at the 2020 Summer Games in Rio.
The International Olympic Committee chose those three sports from a longer list of eight, and will decide on the sport it will include at the Brazil Games.
They’ll make their final decision in September at meetings in Buenos Aires.
“The executive board received excellent presentations today from eight international federations,” IOC president Jacques Rogge said online.
“It was never going to be an easy decision, but I feel my colleagues on the board made a good decision. ... I wish the three shortlisted sports the best of luck in the run-up to the vote in September and would like to thank the other sports for their hard work and dedication.”
Sports that missed the cut include karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. The IOC executive made its decision on Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Russia.
In an effort to ensure the Olympic Games remain relevant, the IOC reviews every sport following each edition of the Games based on 39 criteria, including youth appeal, universality, popularity, good governance, respect for athletes and respect for the Olympic values.
The world’s wrestlers rallied in February when the IOC announced it was dropping the sport, an original event from the ancient games.
Wrestling is criticized for being stuck in history and not translating well on TV.
“The IOC raised very correct questions, which had to be heard by the leadership of the federation,” Russian Wrestling Federation president Mikhail Mamiashvili told the New York Times.
“However, in my opinion, this is not a reason to deprive the multimillion army of wrestling fans from realizing their potential through this wonderful sporting event.”
Squash is bidding for a third time, while baseball and softball joined forces after losing a place after 2008, The Associated Press reported.
Also being decided in September is the 2020 host city, Istanbul, Tokyo or Madrid.
More from GlobalPost: Political foes Iran, US unite to save Olympic wrestling