Wrestling at the Olympic Games
Wrestling was an event at the ancient Olympic Games, and was also included in the first Olympic Games in 1896. Since these first Games, wrestling has been included in every Olympic program, with the exception of the 1900 Summer Olympics.
The organizers of the Olympics introduced Greco-Roman wrestling, a style they believed to be an exact carryover from the wrestling styles used in ancient times.
In 1904, the Olympic Games added the second wrestling event and called freestyle wrestling to the Greco-Roman event, which allowed the wrestlers to use their legs for pushing, lifting and tripping, and they could also hold their opponents above or below the waist.
A women's freestyle wrestling competition was introduced in 2004.
In 2013 wrestling was removed from the 'core' sports list, opening up a sport for a new sport to be included. Fortunately for wrestling, it made it back on the shortlist for inclusion, then was voted back in for 2020 and 2024!
- The wrestling event (men's open Greco-Roman) at the 1896 Olympics was the only time weight classes were not used.
- The best all-time performing wrestlers at the Olympic Games are Russian Alexander Karelin and Artur Taymazov from Uzbekistan, each with three gold medals and one silver. See more on the Greatest Olympic Wrestlers.
- A wrestling bout in 1912 between Estonia's Martin Klein and Finland's Alfred Asikainen lasted 11 hours and 40 minutes before Klein finally won. Klein was so exhausted he could not compete in the final so the gold medal went to Swede Claes Johanson by default.
- Glima (Icelandic Wrestling) is an Icelandic national style of folk wrestling, and was a demonstration sport at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games.
- Wrestling is the only sport that still requires participants to have amateur status to participate in the Olympic Games (boxing allowed professionals in 2016).