Nothing says âhomoeroticâ like buff, sweaty guys in junk-defining spandex, their heads locked into an opponentâs crotch and their hips thrusting wildly as they gasp for breath. In a just world, Olympic wrestling would come with an SH rating, for “screamingly homo.”
Given the history of wrestling, it had to be thus. The ancient Greeks, champions of man-boy love, invented the sport. They competed naked. Centuries later, so did the male protagonists in D.H. Lawrenceâs 1920 classic, Women in Love, in front of a roaring fireplace. Ken Russell re-created the erotic scene in his film adaptation in ’69.
Against this picturesque backdrop, the coach of Russiaâs Olympic wrestling team last week created a stir by publicly blaming âa gay conspiracyâ for the International Olympic Committeeâs shocking decision to drop wrestling from the 2020 Games.
âIf they expel wrestling now, that means that gays will soon run the whole world,â Coach Vladimir Uruimagov told the Russian sports site R-Sport. He went on to label the move as âa blow to masculine origins.â (Note to Vlad: Call me an old-fashioned capitalist, but maybe “blow” isnât the best word choice here.)
Whatâs at stake, Coach V went on to say, was nothing less than the future of humanity.
âIt is necessary for millions around the world who understand that this is a manâs sport and who understand the need to continue the human race to go out and explain their position to the Olympic Committee.â Without wrestling, he opined, âthere is no future.â
Translation: Without wrestling, there may be no future for Uruimagov, who coached a gold-medal winner in London last year and in Athens in 2004.
On one level, Coach Vâs tirade doesnât surprise me. Russians hate queers more than warm vodka. Until 1993, homosexuality was a criminal offense in the Soviet Union. More recently, a far-reaching bill that would ban the âdistribution of âgay propagandaâ to minorsâ is expected to pass the legislature.
On another level, the coachâs reasoning escapes me. Who are these nefarious gays? And why would they eliminate a sport that is so clearly the equivalent of live-action porn in uniforms? If anything, they would want to expand wrestlingâs presence at the Olympics.
Itâs almost easier to blame the Jews. Everybody else does.
As far as “continuing the human race,” last time I checked, “gays” and “parenthood” were not mutually exclusive, at least in the USA, and itâs been that way for three decades. Maybe Petri dishes are harder to come by in the fatherland.
The good news is that all is not lost for wrestling. As of now, it is one of eight sports vying for one spot in 2020. The winner will be announced at the IOC meeting in Buenos Aires in September.
Grapplers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your fashion-forward singlets.