Wayne Holmes wrestled at Central High School in Columbus, Ohio and for the Ohio Wrestling Club. In addition to his 1972 Olympic appearance Holmes wrestled Greco-Roman at the 1971 World Championships. He was a member of the US Navy in the early 1970s, winning the 1970 All-Navy titles in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, and was second at the 1970 Interservice Meet in Greco-Roman. Holmes was 1970 National YMCA Champion in both freestyle and Greco-Roman. He won the 1971 AAU title in Greco, and the 1972 US Wrestling Federation title in freestyle. Holmes worked as an electrician.