Of all the reactions to the International Olympic Committee's decision to drop wrestling from the Olympic program in 2020, Valentin Yordanov's may be the most drastic.
The legendary Bulgarian wrestler, who won 10 world championship medals and is currently the president of the Bulgarian wrestling federation, has returned his gold medal from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics to the IOC as a form of protest.
"With this act I express my solidarity with the millions of athletes and fans of our sport who are condemning the recommendation of the IOC," Yordanov wrote in a letter to IOC president Jacques Rogge. "Our sport is an integral part of the Olympic movement and one of the foundations of both the ancient and modern Olympics."
In total 16 Bulgarian wrestlers have medaled in the Olympics, making it Bulgaria's most successful sport.
Wrestling, which has been a part of every modern Olympics, was cut because of its "lack of global popularity" and low press coverage. Many countries have criticized the IOC's decision, including several political rivals. Yordanov made sure to jab Rogge for this point in his statement:
"[Rogge] unreservedly united Russia, the United States and Iran for a single cause - saving the sport of wrestling, without which the Olympics will never be the same."
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