Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

February 28, 2013

Letter to MIAA: Gymnastics still has Olympic, worldwide appeal


The Andover Townsman

---- — Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Directors:

Editor, Townsman:

As one who participated actively on my Andover High School gymnastic team a little over six decades ago it is with special interest that I write and share with you my sentiments and seek your continued support of boys high school gymnastics here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Serving voluntarily in your capacity as directors is a most noteworthy gesture on your part, and such acceptance automatically entails responsibility for all judgements and decisions made by you. Herewith lies the primary crux of my concerns.

From recent articles published in our local newspaper, the Andover Townsman, it appears that your current endorsement of boys gymnastics is in jeopardy because of a lack of participation throughout the Commonwealth and will be replaced with girls wrestling which currently is increasing its numbers. I say: Congratulations to the girls for their expanding presence in the sport of wrestling! I also say: Congratulations to the boys for their continuing interest in a sport that was born in the earliest days of the Olympics!

I think it worthy of remembrance that gymnastic events have been a part of every Summer Olympics Games since the birth of the modern Olympics movement at the 1896 summer Olympics in Athens, as well as centuries prior to that time. Yet in the current year of 2013 the International Olympic Committee has submitted its seven-year advance warning notice to eliminate wrestling from the 2020 games. For decades the IOC has endorsed “25 core sports” for participation in the yearly Olympics, and of those 25 sports this worldly institution recently chose to eliminate wrestling and for it to be replaced by one of eight sports on the current wait list.

I believe it proper to note that the current stance taken by the MIAA on this matter is in direct contrast to the stance taken by the IOC. It appears that the actions of the MIAA are influenced primarily by the number of participants at this period of time within its immediate jurisdiction as opposed to national, international, global, yes, worldly values of the IOC.

From this writer’s perspective there is no higher challenge in the world of sports competition than that offered by the Olympics. Accordingly I look forward to the MIAA’s recognition of these global values and continuing support for those gymnastic participants whose goals have no equal throughout this world.

Russell G. Doyle

Punchard High Class 1949

Peabody and Fort Myers, Fla.