What’s the deal?
Wrestling. The O.G. sport that is the epitome of ancient Greece…..and the same one that almost lost its Olympic status in 2013 but managed to lobby hard enough to stay for the 2020 program. The sport pits two competitors against each other in hand-to-hand combat to try to pin–or hold the opponent on his/her back–each other down.
Matches consist of two 3-minute rounds, and wrestlers try to rack up the most points by accomplishing different maneuvers. The one with the most points at the end wins; however, if a wrestler pins her opponent by holding down both of their shoulders on the mat at the same time or is ahead by 10 points (called a “technical fall”), they win.
Wrestling has two distinct variations:
- Greco-Roman – This is the original version of wrestling, where competitors can only use their upper body to attack and pin.
- Freestyle – A slightly newer event–first debuted in 1904–where athletes are allowed to use their legs to pin down their opponent.
Men compete in both styles; women only compete in freestyle. Competitors are grouped by weight class. Men have seven weight classes, while women have four.
Why should I watch?
Tradition. Tap into that little bit of inner Greek that’s bound to be inside you and watch the history of sport right before your very eyes.
Wrestling’s also a feat of strength in a different way than, say, weightlifting. There’s a ton of “will they or won’t they” in action here–you never know how a match will turn out. The athleticism and agility on hand are massively impressive.
Potential drinking game:
If one athlete forces another completely out of bounds to the outermost blue circle of the mat, raise your glass.
The perfect snack:
Fruit roll-ups/dried fruit strips
United World Wrestling can give you the lowdown on the various aspect of the sport. Go to your local NOC for more detailed information. For example, British Wrestling has a lot more information geared toward those getting involved with the sport.
If you’re interested in becoming an official, also check out your local NOC. Britain’s got some good resources at its site.