Superwoman Saves Wrestling: A Rhetorical Analysis

Women cannot do all things that men can do. After 14 years of wrestling, witnessing girls and women dominate in a man’s sport, I have come to believe this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Now more than ever man is relying on women to help them out. The future of Olympic wrestling as well as all other levels rests in the hands of women. One article from the New York Times, “Wrestling Adapts in Hopes of Staying in Olympics”, by the associated press, describes just how vital women are to the survival of this great and ancient sport. This article successfully persuades readers that women are the key factor in “saving” the sport of wrestling, although pathos, or emotion appeal, is used in the article, the writer mostly relies on logic and appeal to authority.

Ali Sue Bernard of the U.S., right, in a 72-kilogram women’s bout against Jenny Fransson of Sweden at the London Games. Credit Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Sum It Up

The author begins by getting directly to the point, women are essential to the survival of this once male dominated sport. After that, the author describes some of the changes being instituted at the Olympic wrestling level. For example, now men will compete in 6 weight classes for each freestyle and Greco-Roman; women will now have 6 as well whereas before men had 7 for each and women only had 4. Next he explains some of the steps and changes FILA (wrestling’s governing body) has made or will make via request of the IOC. Proceeding, the author discusses the rapid growth of women’s wrestling over the last 20 years. Concluding, the author explains how most if not the whole world is eager to support women’s wrestling and how Japan’s dominance in this women’s sport is only motivating women and encouraging growth worldwide.


While the writer of this article relies mainly on logic and appeal to authority to build credibility and strength the argument, the use of emotional appeal also adds to this argument. The authors use of emotionally charged words like “peril”, “male-dominated”, and “drastically” are successful in getting readers to feel the emotion involved with this argument. These emotions help readers see the argument as important and credible. Another example of this emotional appeal is these two excerpts from the article,

“Legend has it that in ancient Greece, a woman could be killed if she dared witness a wrestling match on the hallowed grounds of Olympia…To highlight its push toward gender equity, FILA staged a symbolic exhibition last month at which women wrestled in Olympia for the first time.”

This appeal to emotion engages the reader by getting them to think about humanity, honor, and equality. For example, the author uses the term “dared witness”, which provides a stark contrast with the commonly held ideal of non-censorship. This creates a sense of realization for how far society has come. Three thousand years ago a woman would be killed for watching a wrestling match, and now these same women are said to be the key to saving this ancient, male-dominated sport. The writer is successful in using emotional appeal to engage the reader while developing credibility and strengthening the argument.


The author also uses logos, or logic, to develop the argument and build credibility. The author first mentions that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) made it known to FILA, wrestling’s governing body, that increased gender equality and the growth of the women’s division is essential if wrestling hopes to retain its spot at the 2020 Olympics. Then the author states that FILA announced that they would be allocating a spot for a female vice president and 3 more spots for females on the board. Logically, it makes sense that if the growth of women’s wrestling is the key to “saving” the sport, women must be involved at the top to ensure growth. This use of logic supports the authors argument that women are the key to “saving” wrestling while it also helps build her credibility. Another example is found when considering the statement, “Women’s wrestling just completed its third Olympic cycle in London last summer, and nearly all of the estimated 177 national federations also sponsor a women’s program.” This statement makes it apparent that women’s wrestling is a rapidly growing, well supported sport. Logically, to save wrestling as a whole, FILA must continue to grow and support the women’s division, because it alone has the power to shine a new light on the sport and secure wrestling’s future with an abundance of support. This degree of logic, or logos, is successful in developing the writer’s credibility and strengthening the argument.


Lastly, the writer’s use of ethos, or appeal to authority, is the most important aspect in building the author’s credibility and developing the argument of this article. One example of the writer’s use of ethos is found in this segment, “This is a huge development, said the retired Canadian wrestler Carol Huynh, a bronze medalist at the London Games and one of five FILA presenters for a crucial I.O.C. meeting in May. It’s going to be a huge change for women’s wrestling.” This quote from Carol Huynh is considered an appeal to authority because of her wrestling credentials and position in the FILA organization. This quote supports the writer’s argument and builds credibility due to the fact that an active authority figure is in agreement with the writer’s point. Another example of this appeal to authority is when the writer quotes Nenad Lalovic, the new FILA president, who had this to say, “They understand very well; I didn’t have a single protest. Men’s wrestling understands that they have to adapt.” This quote from the president of FILA is successful in solidifying the idea that in order for wrestling to have a future in the Olympics they must adapt by allocating more support and funds to build the female division to an equal of the male division. These strong uses of ethos are the most successful strategy used by the author to support and strengthen the argument while building credibility.

All in All

The author of this article successfully engages a reader as he develops his credibility and strengthens the argument mainly by use of logic and appeal to authority, although emotional appeal is also present. A reader should find the authors use of rhetorical strategies as effective and compelling to the content. Readers cannot deny, after reading this article, that women are a huge factor in saving wrestling and preserving its future. The author did a terrific job solidifying the argument and I believe this article properly conveys the main points without errors that might weaken the argument.


“Wrestling Adapts in Hopes of Staying in Olympics.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 17 Aug. 2013. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

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