The Olympic sport of Wrestling dates back to ancient Egyptian times and includes two disciplines: Freestyle and Greco-Roman.

Did you know?

Before point scoring was introduced, wrestling matches continued until one wrestler was finally forced to the ground. At Stockholm 1912, Russia’s Max Klein and Finland’s Alfred Asikainen set an Olympic Games record with a match that lasted 11 hours.
Freestyle Wrestling was brought into the Games because it was very popular as entertainment at fairs and festivals in the US and the UK.
There will be 90 training dolls available for athletes to use for practice.
At Tokyo 1964, Japan’s Osamu Watanabe ended his career undefeated by winning his 186th consecutive match to claim Olympic gold.

Key facts

Venue: ExCeL
Dates: Greco-Roman: Sunday 5 – Tuesday 7 August; Freestyle: Wednesday 8 – Sunday 12 August
Gold medals up for grabs: 18
Athletes: 344

Wrestling: a history of the sport

Wrestling can be traced as far back as human records go. There is evidence of its early existence in ancient Egyptian wall paintings.

In ancient Greece, 2,000 years later, it was among the most popular events at the original Olympic Games.

The sport has taken many forms over its long history. Different versions have flourished in different areas of the world.

For more infomation on the history of the sport, visit the IOC website.

Wrestling at the Games

Greco-Roman Wrestling was an event at the first modern Games in Athens 1896. The organisers hoped it would give a flavour of the ancient Greek Olympic Games, where the sport had been very popular.

Freestyle was introduced by public demand at the St Louis 1904 Games. Women had to wait another 100 years to compete in Wrestling in the Olympic Games, at Athens 2004.

How to play – and win

Wrestling is a body-to-body combat sport. The aim is to force the back of the opponent’s shoulders on to the ground. Bouts take place on a mat, and can last for a maximum of three periods of two minutes, with a 30-second break in between. A contest can finish early if a wrestler wins the first two periods or pins his opponent.

There are two styles of Wrestling at the Games: Greco-Roman and Freestyle.  Women compete only in the Freestyle event. In Freestyle, competitors can use all parts of their body to attempt moves and holds. In Greco-Roman, use of the legs to make contact and use of the arms below the waist of the opponent are forbidden.

Jargon buster

  • Body lock: A hold where a wrestler locks arms around the body of his opponent before taking him to the mat.
  • Bridge: The arched position a wrestler adopts to avoid his back touching the mat.
  • Arm throw: A move where the wrestler throws his opponent over his shoulder by using his arm.
  • Takedown: To take an opponent from a standing position to the ground.
  • Pin: To force an opponent’s shoulders to the ground to stop and win the match.

Get involved

You can start wrestling from the age of eight. The website of British Wrestling is the best place to go for all the info you’ll need to get started.

You can also visit the site of the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles.

Wrestling - Beijing 2008

~ by superbowlnyc on February 20, 2011.

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