‘Death Penalty’ Stuns U.S.

24pt. Htky Htky Htky Htky

  • FILE - In this April 21, 2012 file photo, Rulon Gardner speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials in Iowa City, Iowa. Gardner's epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics. Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won't have a chance to excel on the sport's biggest stage. Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the U.S. were jolted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

    FILE - In this April 21, 2012 file photo, Rulon Gardner speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials in Iowa City, Iowa. Gardner's epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics. Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won't have a chance to excel on the sport's biggest stage. Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the U.S. were jolted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2012 file photo, Seattle Mariners' Jesus Montero warms up before an at-bat during a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field in Seattle. Montero on Tuesday,n Feb. 12, 2013,  again denied any involvement with a Florida-based anti-aging clinic under investigation by Major League Baseball. According to a published report last week, Montero was named in records belonging to Biogenesis of America LLC, the now-closed clinic in Coral Gables, Fla., that has purportedly been linked to performance-enhancing drugs. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2012 file photo, Seattle Mariners' Jesus Montero warms up before an at-bat during a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field in Seattle. Montero on Tuesday,n Feb. 12, 2013, again denied any involvement with a Florida-based anti-aging clinic under investigation by Major League Baseball. According to a published report last week, Montero was named in records belonging to Biogenesis of America LLC, the now-closed clinic in Coral Gables, Fla., that has purportedly been linked to performance-enhancing drugs. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear, File)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2012 file photo, Seattle Mariners' Jesus Montero warms up before an at-bat during a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field in Seattle. Montero on Tuesday,n Feb. 12, 2013,  again denied any involvement with a Florida-based anti-aging clinic under investigation by Major League Baseball. According to a published report last week, Montero was named in records belonging to Biogenesis of America LLC, the now-closed clinic in Coral Gables, Fla., that has purportedly been linked to performance-enhancing drugs. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2012 file photo, Seattle Mariners' Jesus Montero warms up before an at-bat during a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field in Seattle. Montero on Tuesday,n Feb. 12, 2013, again denied any involvement with a Florida-based anti-aging clinic under investigation by Major League Baseball. According to a published report last week, Montero was named in records belonging to Biogenesis of America LLC, the now-closed clinic in Coral Gables, Fla., that has purportedly been linked to performance-enhancing drugs. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear, File)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2000, file photo, USA's Rulon Gardner waves the American flag following his gold medal win against three-time Olympic gold medalist Alexandre Kareline, of Russia, in the Greco-Roman 130 kg final wrestling match at the Summer Games in Sydney. Gardner's epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics. Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won't have a chance to excel on the sport's biggest stage. Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the U.S. were jolted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2000, file photo, USA's Rulon Gardner waves the American flag following his gold medal win against three-time Olympic gold medalist Alexandre Kareline, of Russia, in the Greco-Roman 130 kg final wrestling match at the Summer Games in Sydney. Gardner's epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics. Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won't have a chance to excel on the sport's biggest stage. Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the U.S. were jolted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara, File)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2000, file photo, USA's Rulon Gardner waves the American flag following his gold medal win against three-time Olympic gold medalist Alexandre Kareline, of Russia, in the Greco-Roman 130 kg final wrestling match at the Summer Games in Sydney. Gardner's epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics. Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won't have a chance to excel on the sport's biggest stage. Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the U.S. were jolted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2000, file photo, USA's Rulon Gardner waves the American flag following his gold medal win against three-time Olympic gold medalist Alexandre Kareline, of Russia, in the Greco-Roman 130 kg final wrestling match at the Summer Games in Sydney. Gardner's epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics. Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won't have a chance to excel on the sport's biggest stage. Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the U.S. were jolted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara, File)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2000 file photo, Rulon Gardner, right, of the United States, holds the arm of Alexander Karelin of Russia during the final bout in the 130 kg class of Greco-Roman wrestling event at the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney. Gardner's epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics. Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won't have a chance to excel on the sport's biggest stage. Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the U.S. were jolted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara, File )

    FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2000 file photo, Rulon Gardner, right, of the United States, holds the arm of Alexander Karelin of Russia during the final bout in the 130 kg class of Greco-Roman wrestling event at the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney. Gardner's epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics. Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won't have a chance to excel on the sport's biggest stage. Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the U.S. were jolted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara, File )

  • FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2000 file photo, Rulon Gardner, right, of the United States, holds the arm of Alexander Karelin of Russia during the final bout in the 130 kg class of Greco-Roman wrestling event at the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney. Gardner's epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics. Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won't have a chance to excel on the sport's biggest stage. Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the U.S. were jolted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara, File )

    FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2000 file photo, Rulon Gardner, right, of the United States, holds the arm of Alexander Karelin of Russia during the final bout in the 130 kg class of Greco-Roman wrestling event at the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney. Gardner's epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics. Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won't have a chance to excel on the sport's biggest stage. Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the U.S. were jolted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara, File )

  • FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 file photo Keitani Graham of Micronesia competes against Charles Edward Betts of the United States, right, during the 84-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London. An official familiar with the decision says IOC leaders have dropped wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics. In a surprise decision Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, the official tells The Associated Press that the IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon and remove wrestling instead. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 file photo Keitani Graham of Micronesia competes against Charles Edward Betts of the United States, right, during the 84-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London. An official familiar with the decision says IOC leaders have dropped wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics. In a surprise decision Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, the official tells The Associated Press that the IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon and remove wrestling instead. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

  • FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 file photo Keitani Graham of Micronesia competes against Charles Edward Betts of the United States, right, during the 84-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London. An official familiar with the decision says IOC leaders have dropped wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics. In a surprise decision Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, the official tells The Associated Press that the IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon and remove wrestling instead. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 file photo Keitani Graham of Micronesia competes against Charles Edward Betts of the United States, right, during the 84-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London. An official familiar with the decision says IOC leaders have dropped wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics. In a surprise decision Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, the official tells The Associated Press that the IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon and remove wrestling instead. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

  • FILE - The Aug. 5, 2012 file photo shows Cuba's Gustavo Balart, left, competing with South Korea's Choi Gyu-jin during 55-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. IOC leaders have dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program. The IOC executive board decided Tuesday, Feb. 12, 1013 to retain modern pentathlon — the event considered most at risk — and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports.  (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, file)

    FILE - The Aug. 5, 2012 file photo shows Cuba's Gustavo Balart, left, competing with South Korea's Choi Gyu-jin during 55-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. IOC leaders have dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program. The IOC executive board decided Tuesday, Feb. 12, 1013 to retain modern pentathlon — the event considered most at risk — and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, file)

  • FILE - The Aug. 5, 2012 file photo shows Cuba's Gustavo Balart, left, competing with South Korea's Choi Gyu-jin during 55-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. IOC leaders have dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program. The IOC executive board decided Tuesday, Feb. 12, 1013 to retain modern pentathlon — the event considered most at risk — and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports.  (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, file)

    FILE - The Aug. 5, 2012 file photo shows Cuba's Gustavo Balart, left, competing with South Korea's Choi Gyu-jin during 55-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. IOC leaders have dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program. The IOC executive board decided Tuesday, Feb. 12, 1013 to retain modern pentathlon — the event considered most at risk — and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, file)

  • FILE - The Aug. 6, 2012 file photo shows Sayed Abdelmonem Hamed of Egypt competing against Zaur Kuramagomedov of Russia (in blue) during the 60-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.  IOC leaders have dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program. The IOC executive board decided Tuesday, Feb. 12, 1013 to retain modern pentathlon — the event considered most at risk — and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    FILE - The Aug. 6, 2012 file photo shows Sayed Abdelmonem Hamed of Egypt competing against Zaur Kuramagomedov of Russia (in blue) during the 60-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. IOC leaders have dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program. The IOC executive board decided Tuesday, Feb. 12, 1013 to retain modern pentathlon — the event considered most at risk — and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

  • FILE - The Aug. 6, 2012 file photo shows Sayed Abdelmonem Hamed of Egypt competing against Zaur Kuramagomedov of Russia (in blue) during the 60-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.  IOC leaders have dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program. The IOC executive board decided Tuesday, Feb. 12, 1013 to retain modern pentathlon — the event considered most at risk — and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    FILE - The Aug. 6, 2012 file photo shows Sayed Abdelmonem Hamed of Egypt competing against Zaur Kuramagomedov of Russia (in blue) during the 60-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. IOC leaders have dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program. The IOC executive board decided Tuesday, Feb. 12, 1013 to retain modern pentathlon — the event considered most at risk — and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

  • FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 file photo Amer Hrustanovic of Austria competes against Damian Janikowski of Poland, in blue, during the 84-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London. An official familiar with the decision says IOC leaders have dropped wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics. In a surprise decision Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, the official tells The Associated Press that the IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon and remove wrestling instead. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 file photo Amer Hrustanovic of Austria competes against Damian Janikowski of Poland, in blue, during the 84-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London. An official familiar with the decision says IOC leaders have dropped wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics. In a surprise decision Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, the official tells The Associated Press that the IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon and remove wrestling instead. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

  • FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 file photo Amer Hrustanovic of Austria competes against Damian Janikowski of Poland, in blue, during the 84-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London. An official familiar with the decision says IOC leaders have dropped wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics. In a surprise decision Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, the official tells The Associated Press that the IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon and remove wrestling instead. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 file photo Amer Hrustanovic of Austria competes against Damian Janikowski of Poland, in blue, during the 84-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London. An official familiar with the decision says IOC leaders have dropped wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics. In a surprise decision Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, the official tells The Associated Press that the IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon and remove wrestling instead. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

  • In this image provided by Hodges Photographry, trainer Tom Amoss and his wife Colleen in Mardi Gras costume as "Goodell Busters" pose with jockey Leandro Goncalves before the fifth race at Fair Grounds race course Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, in New Orleans.  Their horse, Razmataz, won the race.  (AP Photo/Hodges Photography, Lynn Roberts)

    In this image provided by Hodges Photographry, trainer Tom Amoss and his wife Colleen in Mardi Gras costume as "Goodell Busters" pose with jockey Leandro Goncalves before the fifth race at Fair Grounds race course Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, in New Orleans. Their horse, Razmataz, won the race. (AP Photo/Hodges Photography, Lynn Roberts)

  • FILE - In this April 21, 2012 file photo, Rulon Gardner speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials in Iowa City, Iowa. Gardner's epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics. Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won't have a chance to excel on the sport's biggest stage. Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the U.S. were jolted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
  • FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2012 file photo, Seattle Mariners' Jesus Montero warms up before an at-bat during a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field in Seattle. Montero on Tuesday,n Feb. 12, 2013,  again denied any involvement with a Florida-based anti-aging clinic under investigation by Major League Baseball. According to a published report last week, Montero was named in records belonging to Biogenesis of America LLC, the now-closed clinic in Coral Gables, Fla., that has purportedly been linked to performance-enhancing drugs. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear, File)
  • FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2012 file photo, Seattle Mariners' Jesus Montero warms up before an at-bat during a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field in Seattle. Montero on Tuesday,n Feb. 12, 2013,  again denied any involvement with a Florida-based anti-aging clinic under investigation by Major League Baseball. According to a published report last week, Montero was named in records belonging to Biogenesis of America LLC, the now-closed clinic in Coral Gables, Fla., that has purportedly been linked to performance-enhancing drugs. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear, File)
  • FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2000, file photo, USA's Rulon Gardner waves the American flag following his gold medal win against three-time Olympic gold medalist Alexandre Kareline, of Russia, in the Greco-Roman 130 kg final wrestling match at the Summer Games in Sydney. Gardner's epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics. Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won't have a chance to excel on the sport's biggest stage. Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the U.S. were jolted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara, File)
  • FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2000, file photo, USA's Rulon Gardner waves the American flag following his gold medal win against three-time Olympic gold medalist Alexandre Kareline, of Russia, in the Greco-Roman 130 kg final wrestling match at the Summer Games in Sydney. Gardner's epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics. Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won't have a chance to excel on the sport's biggest stage. Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the U.S. were jolted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara, File)
  • FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2000 file photo, Rulon Gardner, right, of the United States, holds the arm of Alexander Karelin of Russia during the final bout in the 130 kg class of Greco-Roman wrestling event at the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney. Gardner's epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics. Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won't have a chance to excel on the sport's biggest stage. Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the U.S. were jolted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara, File )
  • FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2000 file photo, Rulon Gardner, right, of the United States, holds the arm of Alexander Karelin of Russia during the final bout in the 130 kg class of Greco-Roman wrestling event at the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney. Gardner's epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics. Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won't have a chance to excel on the sport's biggest stage. Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the U.S. were jolted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games. (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara, File )
  • FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 file photo Keitani Graham of Micronesia competes against Charles Edward Betts of the United States, right, during the 84-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London. An official familiar with the decision says IOC leaders have dropped wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics. In a surprise decision Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, the official tells The Associated Press that the IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon and remove wrestling instead. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
  • FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 file photo Keitani Graham of Micronesia competes against Charles Edward Betts of the United States, right, during the 84-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London. An official familiar with the decision says IOC leaders have dropped wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics. In a surprise decision Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, the official tells The Associated Press that the IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon and remove wrestling instead. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
  • FILE - The Aug. 5, 2012 file photo shows Cuba's Gustavo Balart, left, competing with South Korea's Choi Gyu-jin during 55-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. IOC leaders have dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program. The IOC executive board decided Tuesday, Feb. 12, 1013 to retain modern pentathlon — the event considered most at risk — and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports.  (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, file)
  • FILE - The Aug. 5, 2012 file photo shows Cuba's Gustavo Balart, left, competing with South Korea's Choi Gyu-jin during 55-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. IOC leaders have dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program. The IOC executive board decided Tuesday, Feb. 12, 1013 to retain modern pentathlon — the event considered most at risk — and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports.  (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, file)
  • FILE - The Aug. 6, 2012 file photo shows Sayed Abdelmonem Hamed of Egypt competing against Zaur Kuramagomedov of Russia (in blue) during the 60-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.  IOC leaders have dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program. The IOC executive board decided Tuesday, Feb. 12, 1013 to retain modern pentathlon — the event considered most at risk — and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
  • FILE - The Aug. 6, 2012 file photo shows Sayed Abdelmonem Hamed of Egypt competing against Zaur Kuramagomedov of Russia (in blue) during the 60-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.  IOC leaders have dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program. The IOC executive board decided Tuesday, Feb. 12, 1013 to retain modern pentathlon — the event considered most at risk — and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
  • FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 file photo Amer Hrustanovic of Austria competes against Damian Janikowski of Poland, in blue, during the 84-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London. An official familiar with the decision says IOC leaders have dropped wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics. In a surprise decision Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, the official tells The Associated Press that the IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon and remove wrestling instead. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
  • FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 file photo Amer Hrustanovic of Austria competes against Damian Janikowski of Poland, in blue, during the 84-kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London. An official familiar with the decision says IOC leaders have dropped wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics. In a surprise decision Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, the official tells The Associated Press that the IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon and remove wrestling instead. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
  • In this image provided by Hodges Photographry, trainer Tom Amoss and his wife Colleen in Mardi Gras costume as "Goodell Busters" pose with jockey Leandro Goncalves before the fifth race at Fair Grounds race course Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, in New Orleans.  Their horse, Razmataz, won the race.  (AP Photo/Hodges Photography, Lynn Roberts)

Rulon Gardner’s epic upset of Russian wrestling great Alexander Karelin in 2000 remains one of the most compelling moments of the modern Olympics.

Starting in 2020, youngsters looking to Gardner and Karelin for inspiration won’t have a chance to excel on the sport’s biggest stage.

Gardner and nearly everyone else associated with the sport in the U.S. were jolted yesterday when International Olympic Committee leaders dropped wrestling from the Summer Games.

The move is set to take effect for the 2020 Olympics and eliminates a sport that’s been a staple of both the ancient and modern games.

“It’s the IOC trying to change the Olympics to make it more mainstream and more viewer-friendly instead of sticking to what they founded the Olympics on, and that was basically amateur sports,” Gardner told The Associated Press by phone from Logan, Utah. “To get the death penalty out of nowhere.”

The decision by the IOC to phase out wrestling will leave the U.S. without one of its most successful Olympic sports.

The only sports in which the Americans have won more medals than wrestling is swimming and track and field — and those two have far more medal opportunities.

Americans have won a record 113 freestyle Olympic medals, by far the most of any nation. Though the U.S. had slipped in recent Olympic cycles, it bounced back with a pair of London Games gold medalists in Jordan Burroughs — possibly the best wrestler in the world — and Jake Varner.

“I do think wrestling people are the strongest in the world, and they’re resilient. And we’ll come out of whatever happens. But short term, yeah, it’s sad,” 2004 Olympic gold medalist and Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said.

“I just think of the kids in our program that dream of being Olympic champions. And to think that now that’s no longer an opportunity just so the IOC stay fresh and continue to rotate sports and whatever their plan is — it’s tough to think about.”

Wrestling is also one of the most popular youth sports in the U.S. The National Federation of State High School Associations reports that the sport was sixth among prep boys with nearly 275,000 competing in 2010-11.

“Wrestling is the Olympics. It’s the toughest, most grueling, most demanding and most humbling sport there is. It teaches you so many life lessons,” said Jake Herbert, who wrestled for the U.S. in the London Games.

Wrestling will now join seven other sports in applying for inclusion in 2020. The others are a combined bid from baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. They will be vying for a single opening in 2020.

USA Wrestling executive director Richard Bender calls his sport “one of the most diverse,” with nearly 200 nations from all continents participating.

“It is an inclusive sport which provides opportunities worldwide, regardless of geography, race, gender or physical characteristics,” he said. “We look forward to telling the story about wrestling to the International Committee leadership and the entire world about our great sport and why it should be part of the Olympic movement forever.”

The IOC executive board will meet in May in St. Petersburg, Russia, to decide which sport or sports to propose for 2020. The final vote will be in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“Given the history and tradition of wrestling, and its popularity and universality, we were surprised when the decision was announced,” U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said. “It is important to remember that today’s action is a recommendation, and we hope that there will be a meaningful opportunity to discuss the important role that wrestling plays in the sports landscape both in the United States and around the world.”

Rejoining the Olympic roster for 2020 seems unlikely. Still, former Olympic champion and current Iowa coach Tom Brands said the international wrestling community needs to fight this ouster.

“It’s one of those things where your first thoughts are pretty bad,” Brands said. “There’s nothing more sacred to living than learning to overcome struggle. Wrestling is that equivalent, more than any other form of sport, recreation or entertainment. It’s worse than death because you can’t control death, and this is something that maybe we can control or could have controlled. We need to look forward to May and the process in September.”

Reaction to the move was swift on social media. A Facebook page titled “Save Olympic Wrestling” was started yesterday morning and had nearly 5,000 members by noon. A number of fellow Olympians also displayed their displeasure over the decision on Twitter by using the hashtag #SaveOlympicWrestling.

Wrestling can be tough for the average Olympics fan to follow, which is why it rarely earns a TV slot in prime time. Its scoring system can seem complicated and arcane to newcomers. The medal stand is often dominated by athletes who aren’t nearly as marketable as gymnasts and swimmers.

Still, it produces memorable characters like Karelin, the prolifically strong three-time Olympic champion and hero in his native Russia. There are also American icons like Sanderson and Gardner, who beat Karelin and later survived both a plane crash and frostbite.

“It just seems like wrestling, if we don’t fight we’re going to die,” Gardner said. “At this point, it’s time for everybody to man up and support the program.”