Billy Wood

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameWilliam Olive "Billy"•Wood
Used nameBilly•Wood
Nick/petnamesWee Willie Wood
Born6 November 1886 in Camberwell, England (GBR)
Died29 April 1971 in Dulwich, England (GBR)
Measurements173 cm / 67 kg
AffiliationsLondon Amateur Wrestling Society, London (GBR)
NOC Great Britain
Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 0
Total 1


William Wood was born in Camberwell, London, the son of Thomas and Mary Ellen Wood, his father was a bank clerk. A resident of Peckham, Wood had only taken up wrestling six months ago with the London Amateur Wrestling Society before participating at the 1908 Olympic games. There, he competed in both the Greco-Roman and freestyle events in the middleweight class and won the silver medal in the latter after falling to George de Relwyskow in the final match. Later that year, he won the lightweight competition at a German Gymnasium event in December 1908, prior to leaving for Africa for work. His brothers, Alan and Thomas Charles Olive Wood, were also active amateur wrestlers, the latter winning an amateur freestyle middleweight title in 1909.

A mining engineer and metallurgist by profession, Wood travelled the world extensively for his job during the 1910s, where he also found time to participate in wrestling matches in numerous countries in South America, Europe and North America, maintaining a record of not being thrown throughout those years. He also served in World War I with the London Rifles. Wood returned to England in the 1920s, later turning professional in the early 1930s, and was one of the pioneers in professional wrestling in the United Kingdom, known as “Billy” or “Wee Willie Wood”. He remained active in the sport until at least the 1950s, running a boxing and wrestling booth at a fairground.

Wood died in Dulwich in 1971, aged 84. His son, Sir William Alan Wood (1916–2010) later became a well-known civil servant who was appointed a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 1978.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1908 Summer Olympics Wrestling GBR Billy Wood
Lightweight, Greco-Roman, Men (Olympic) =9
Lightweight, Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver


Year of birth alternatively given in some sources as 1887 and 1888; his family confirms 1886 to be correct per the family bible.