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Learn More About Wrestling

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What is the history of wrestling?

Cave drawings dating back 15,000 years depict men grappling with one another, surrounded by a large crowd. Before the use of tools and weapons, humankind only had their bodies to contend for superiority. From ancient Egypt to Mongolia, there are tombs and pottery with images of men utilizing modern techniques.

Greco-Roman wrestling differs from freestyle in that wrestlers are not allowed to place holds below the waist; while its name stems from the ancient forms of fighting, it first appeared in the 19th century in an effort to differentiate itself from freestyle, which is more commonly practiced and exists in high schools and universities around the world.

United World Wrestling (UWW) formed in 1921 and continues to serve as a governing body for amateur sporting events, including the Summer Games. Other popular forms of wrestling are Lucha Libre in Mexico, the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in the United States, and mixed martial arts; competitors frequently use submission techniques traditionally found in wrestling.

Wrestling at the Olympic Games

The inclusion of wrestling dates back to the ancient Olympics in 708 BC. Greco-Roman wrestling has been part of every modern Olympics, except for its removal in 1900. It returned in 1904 and Freestyle wrestling was also added.

The Soviet Union and the United States have won far more medals than any other country. Finland and Sweden are both highly competitive in Greco-Roman, while the United States and Japan continue to do well in Freestyle.

Until 2004, only men were allowed to compete.

What are the current Olympic wrestling events?

There 18 total events. The men's events include Greco-Roman bantamweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, heavyweight, and super heavyweight, and Freestyle bantamweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, heavyweight, and super heavyweight.

Women's events include Freestyle flyweight, bantamweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight.

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Wrestling