The surprise decision removes one of the oldest Olympic sports.
The IOC executive board, meeting in Switzerland, decided Tuesday to retain modern pentathlon - the event considered most at risk - and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports.
The IOC board acted after reviewing the 26 sports on the current Olympic program. Eliminating one sport allows the International Olympic Committee to add a new sport to the program later this year.
Wrestling, which combines freestyle and Greco-Roman events, goes back to the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896.