Wrestling

Facts

Discipline of Wrestling
Participants 4960
NOCs 131
Competitions held 410 (Venues)
Distinct events 60
IF United World Wrestling, Amateur-Athleten-Weltunion, Internationaler Kraftsportverband

Description

Wrestling is the most ancient known competitive sport. Wrestling was introduced into the Ancient Olympic Games in 708 BCE, shortly after the Games’ recorded history begins in 776 BCE. Ancient Olympic champions are recorded from Eurybatos of Sparta (708 BCE) through Aurelius Aelix of Phoenicia (213 CE). The most titled champions at Olympia were Milon of Kroton, who won five titles in wrestling (532‑516 BCE) and one in boys’ wrestling (540 BCE), and Hipposthenes of Sparta, who also won five wrestling titles (624‑608 BCE) and one boys’ wrestling title (632 BCE) at Ancient Olympia.

Only in 1900 has wrestling not been on the Olympic Program. There are four main forms of amateur competitive wrestling practiced in the world – Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, judo wrestling, and sombo wrestling. Judo is considered a separate sport at the Olympics. Sombo is a combination of freestyle and judo and is most popular in the Asian republics of the former Soviet Union, but it has not yet been contested in the Olympics.

Currently, both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling are contested at the Olympics and both have been held since 1920. Prior to that (except in 1908), only one form was used, usually Greco-Roman. Freestyle wrestling is similar to American collegiate style, or folkstyle wrestling. Holds are relatively unlimited, provided they are not dangerous, and can be applied to any part of the body. Greco-Roman wrestling limits holds to the upper body. Women’s freestyle wrestling was added to the Olympic Program in 2004 at Athina.

The dominant country in wrestling has been the Soviet Union and its former republics, especially in Greco-Roman style. The United States is close to the Soviets in freestyle, however. Other nations that produce good wrestlers include Iran, Turkey, Japan, and Mongolia. Eight wrestlers have won three Olympic gold medals, with Aleksandr Karelin (URS/EUN/RUS) also winning a silver medal. Among women, Kaori Icho (JPN) has won four consecutive gold medals from 2004-16, with her countrywoman, Saori Yoshida, winning three golds (2004-12) and a silver medal in 2016.

The wrestling international federation, United World Wrestling (UWW), was formed in 1921 and had 176 affiliated nations as of 2020. Its original named was the International Amateur Wrestling Federation (IAWF). The organization was renamed to International Federation of Amateur Wrestling in 1952 and to Fédération internationale des luttes associées (FILA) in 1994 and to its current name in September 2014.

The forerunner of the UWW was the Internationale Ring Verband which was formed in 1912 at the Stockholm Olympics and was the first organization only responsible for wrestling. Before 1921 wrestling was also governed by the Amateur Athleten Weltunion (1905-07), the Internationaler Weltverband für Schwerathletik (1913-20), and the Internationaler Kraftsportverband (1920-21), which not only governed wrestling, but also boxing, tug-of-war, weight throwing, and weightlifting.

All-time medal table

Olympic Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Soviet Union URS 62 31 23 116
United States USA 54 43 36 133
Japan JPN 32 21 16 69
Russian Federation RUS 31 14 14 59
Turkey TUR 29 18 16 63
Sweden SWE 28 27 31 86
Finland FIN 26 28 29 83
Hungary HUN 19 16 19 54
Bulgaria BUL 16 32 21 69
Republic of Korea KOR 11 11 14 36
Islamic Republic of Iran IRI 10 14 19 43
Cuba CUB 9 6 9 24
Romania ROU 7 8 19 34
Italy ITA 7 4 10 21
Unified Team EUN 6 5 5 16
Germany GER 5 17 12 34
Poland POL 5 9 12 26
Estonia EST 5 2 4 11
Azerbaijan AZE 4 7 11 22
Yugoslavia YUG 4 6 6 16
France FRA 4 4 10 18
Switzerland SUI 4 4 6 14
Canada CAN 3 7 7 17
Ukraine UKR 3 5 6 14
Georgia GEO 3 4 10 17
Great Britain GBR 3 4 10 17
Democratic People's Republic of Korea PRK 3 2 5 10
People's Republic of China CHN 2 3 6 11
Armenia ARM 2 3 3 8
East Germany GDR 2 3 2 7
Uzbekistan UZB 2 2 3 7
Egypt EGY 2 2 2 6
Norway NOR 2 2 2 6
Czechoslovakia TCH 1 7 7 15
Kazakhstan KAZ 1 5 10 16
West Germany FRG 1 4 4 9
Greece GRE 1 3 7 11
Serbia SRB 1 0 0 1
Belarus BLR 0 5 6 11
Mongolia MGL 0 4 5 9
Denmark DEN 0 3 6 9
Belgium BEL 0 3 0 3
India IND 0 1 4 5
Australia AUS 0 1 2 3
Kyrgyzstan KGZ 0 1 2 3
Lebanon LBN 0 1 2 3
Lithuania LTU 0 1 1 2
Latvia LAT 0 1 0 1
Mexico MEX 0 1 0 1
Puerto Rico PUR 0 1 0 1
Slovakia SVK 0 1 0 1
Syrian Arab Republic SYR 0 1 0 1
Tajikistan TJK 0 1 0 1
United Arab Republic UAR 0 1 0 1
Austria AUT 0 0 2 2
Colombia COL 0 0 2 2
Czech Republic CZE 0 0 1 1
North Macedonia MKD 0 0 1 1
Pakistan PAK 0 0 1 1
Republic of Moldova MDA 0 0 1 1
Spain ESP 0 0 1 1
Tunisia TUN 0 0 1 1

Intercalated Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Denmark DEN 2 1 1 4
Austria AUT 1 2 1 4
Finland FIN 1 1 0 2
Belgium BEL 0 0 1 1
Hungary HUN 0 0 1 1

Youth Olympic Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Russian Federation RUS 9 1 3 13
Azerbaijan AZE 8 3 1 12
Japan JPN 6 0 2 8
United States USA 2 4 0 6
Islamic Republic of Iran IRI 2 3 3 8
Uzbekistan UZB 2 1 4 7
Kazakhstan KAZ 2 0 2 4
Democratic People's Republic of Korea PRK 2 0 0 2
Turkey TUR 1 4 3 8
Georgia GEO 1 3 2 6
Republic of Moldova MDA 1 2 1 4
Cuba CUB 1 2 0 3
People's Republic of China CHN 1 2 0 3
Kyrgyzstan KGZ 1 1 1 3
Mongolia MGL 1 1 1 3
Canada CAN 1 0 0 1
Norway NOR 1 0 0 1
Sweden SWE 1 0 0 1
Ukraine UKR 0 2 4 6
India IND 0 2 1 3
Argentina ARG 0 2 0 2
Armenia ARM 0 1 4 5
Egypt EGY 0 1 3 4
Bulgaria BUL 0 1 1 2
Algeria ALG 0 1 0 1
Ecuador ECU 0 1 0 1
Hungary HUN 0 1 0 1
Republic of Korea KOR 0 1 0 1
Tajikistan TJK 0 1 0 1
Venezuela VEN 0 1 0 1
Belarus BLR 0 0 1 1
Finland FIN 0 0 1 1
France FRA 0 0 1 1
Germany GER 0 0 1 1
Mexico MEX 0 0 1 1
Pakistan PAK 0 0 1 1
Poland POL 0 0 1 1

Forerunners To The Olympic Games

Most successful competitors

Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Kaori Icho JPN 4 0 0 4
Aleksandr Karelin RUS
URS
EUN
3 1 0 4
Saori Yoshida JPN 3 1 0 4
Buvaysar Saytiyev RUS 3 0 0 3
Ivar Johansson SWE 3 0 0 3
Carl Westergren SWE 3 0 0 3
Aliaksandr Miadved BLR
URS
3 0 0 3
Mijaín López CUB 3 0 0 3
Rudolf Svensson SWE 2 2 0 4
Bruce Baumgartner USA 2 1 1 4

Intercalated Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Søren Jensen DEN 2 0 0 2
Verner Weckman FIN 1 1 0 2
Rudolf Watzl AUT 1 0 1 2
Carl Carlsen DEN 0 1 0 1
Henri Baur AUT 0 1 0 1
Rudolf Lindmayer AUT 0 1 0 1
Marcel Dubois BEL 0 0 1 1
Robert Behrens DEN 0 0 1 1
Ferenc Holubán HUN 0 0 1 1

Youth Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Dori Yeats CAN 1 0 0 1
Patimat Bəhəmmədova AZE 1 0 0 1
Yu Miyahara JPN 1 0 0 1
Baatarzorigyn Battsetseg MGL 1 0 0 1
Murad Bazarov AZE 1 0 0 1
Əli Məhəmmədəbirov AZE 1 0 0 1
Elman Muxtarov AZE 1 0 0 1
Yuki Takahashi JPN 1 0 0 1
Zhanibek Kandybayev KAZ 1 0 0 1
Urmatbek Amatov KGZ 1 0 0 1
Ruslan Adzhigov RUS 1 0 0 1
Aldar Balzhinimayev RUS 1 0 0 1
Azamatbi Pshnatlov RUS 1 0 0 1
Resul Kalaycı TUR 1 0 0 1
Mayu Mukaida JPN 1 0 0 1
Grace Bullen NOR 1 0 0 1
Kim Son-Hyang PRK 1 0 0 1
Darya Shisterova RUS 1 0 0 1
İslambək Dadov AZE 1 0 0 1
İqbal Hacızadə AZE 1 0 0 1
Teymur Məmmədov AZE 1 0 0 1
Yajuro Yamasaki JPN 1 0 0 1
Mukhambet Kuatbek KAZ 1 0 0 1
Ri Se-Ung PRK 1 0 0 1
Mark Bemalyan RUS 1 0 0 1
Ismail Gadzhiyev RUS 1 0 0 1
Arslan Zubairov RUS 1 0 0 1
Ilkhom Bakhromov UZB 1 0 0 1
Turan Bayramov AZE 1 0 0 1
Giorgi Chkhikvadze GEO 1 0 0 1
Amirreza Dehbozorgi IRI 1 0 0 1
Mohammad Nosrati IRI 1 0 0 1
Wataru Sasaki JPN 1 0 0 1
Alexandrin Guțu MDA 1 0 0 1
Sergey Kozyrev RUS 1 0 0 1
Akhmedkhan Tembotov RUS 1 0 0 1
Robert Howard USA 1 0 0 1
Umidzhon Dzhalolov UZB 1 0 0 1
Zhou Xinru CHN 1 0 0 1
Milaimys Marín CUB 1 0 0 1
Nonoka Ozaki JPN 1 0 0 1
Jonna Malmgren SWE 1 0 0 1
Emily Shilson USA 1 0 0 1

Forerunners To The Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total

Event types

Name Gender Still contested? Times held?
Featherweight, Greco-Roman Men 24
Welterweight, Greco-Roman Men 20
Middleweight, Greco-Roman Men 25
Light-Heavyweight, Greco-Roman Men 24
Heavyweight, Greco-Roman Men 26
Super-Heavyweight, Greco-Roman Men 12
Featherweight, Freestyle Men 25
Welterweight, Freestyle Men 23
Middleweight, Freestyle Men 24
Light-Heavyweight, Freestyle Men 23
Heavyweight, Freestyle Men 25
Super-Heavyweight, Freestyle Men 12
Flyweight, Freestyle Women 4
Featherweight, Freestyle Women 1
Lightweight, Freestyle Women 4
Middleweight, Freestyle Women 4
Light-Heavyweight, Freestyle Women 1
Heavyweight, Freestyle Women 4
≤42 kilograms, Greco Roman Boys 2
≤45 kilograms, Greco-Roman Boys 1
≤50 kilograms, Greco Roman Boys 2
≤58 kilograms, Greco Roman Boys 2
≤69 kilograms, Greco Roman Boys 2
≤85 kilograms, Greco Roman Boys 2
≤46 kilograms, Freestyle Boys 2
≤54 kilograms, Freestyle Boys 2
≤63 kilograms, Freestyle Boys 2
≤76 kilograms, Freestyle Boys 2
≤100 kilograms, Freestyle Boys 2
≤51 kilograms, Greco-Roman Boys 1
≤60 kilograms, Greco-Roman Boys 1
≤71 kilograms, Greco-Roman Boys 1
≤92 kilograms, Greco-Roman Boys 1
≤48 kilograms, Freestyle Boys 1
≤55 kilograms, Freestyle Boys 1
≤65 kilograms, Freestyle Boys 1
≤80 kilograms, Freestyle Boys 1
≤110 kilograms, Freestyle Boys 1
≤46 kilograms, Freestyle Girls 2
≤43 kilograms, Freestyle Girls 1
≤52 kilograms, Freestyle Girls 2
≤60 kilograms, Freestyle Girls 2
≤49 kilograms, Freestyle Girls 1
≤70 kilograms, Freestyle Girls 2
≤57 kilograms, Freestyle Girls 1
≤65 kilograms, Freestyle Girls 1
≤73 kilograms, Freestyle Girls 1
Light-Flyweight, Greco-Roman Men 7
Flyweight, Greco-Roman Men 13
Bantamweight, Greco-Roman Men 18
Lightweight, Greco-Roman Men 25
Middleweight A, Greco-Roman Men 1
Middleweight B, Greco-Roman Men 1
Unlimited Class, Greco-Roman Men 1
All-Around, Greco-Roman Men 1
Wrestling and Somersault Men 1
Light-Flyweight, Freestyle Men 8
Flyweight, Freestyle Men 14
Bantamweight, Freestyle Men 20
Lightweight, Freestyle Men 24