Wrestling at the 2016 Summer Olympics

Dates 14 – 21 August 2016
Medal Events 18

Wrestling was one of original nine sports contested on the initial Olympic programme in 1896 and it has been held at every Olympics since then, with the lone exception of the 1900 Games. In 2013, the wrestling world was stunned when it was dropped from the Olympic Games programme for a variety of reasons, shocking not only the wrestling world, but the sports world. A “Keep Olympic Wrestling” movement was created in response, and the wrestling community and organizations across the world came together in unexpected ways and ultimately saved the sport by modernizing it.

Since the 2012 London Olympic Games, and as a result of the 2013 campaign to keep wrestling in the Olympic programme, the rules and guidelines of the sport had been overhauled by the International Olympic Committee and FILA (now called the United World Wrestling - UWW) with a promise to make the sport easier to understand and more fun to watch for the average viewer.

The sport is now guaranteed to be on the Olympic programme through to the 2020 and 2024 Games, but the IOC will watch to see if the changes draw more of an interest in the sport for the future.

Men continued to compete in both disciplines (freestyle and Greco-Roman), whereas women only participated in the freestyle events, with a total 18 gold medals awarded. However, in a move toward increasing gender equity, a weight from each of the men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman divisions was removed (from seven to six) adding two more weights for the women, ensuring a 6-6-6 split among the three disciplines. Women’s freestyle wrestling, which was introduced at the 2004 Olympic Games, previously competed at 48, 55, 63 and 72 kg classes in the 2012 Olympic Games, and due to the recent changes, the women wrestled at 48, 53, 58, 63, 69 and 75 kg in the 2016 Games. In men`s freestyle, the middleweight remained (74 kg), followed by 86, 97 and 125 kg for heavyweights. In Greco-Roman the two lightest classes are now 59 and 66 kg, and then 75, 85, 98 and 130 kg.

Previously, wrestling matches consisted of three periods, and were scored in a “best-of-three” format with no cumulative scoring. Under the new format, each match consisted of two three-minute periods with cumulative scoring, in order to try and reward aggressive wrestling and cut down on passivity.

The entire pool of competitors in each weight class received a random draw (no seeds) into a single elimination bracket. As well, each wrestler was allowed one video challenge per match – if the jury agreed, the challenge can be used again, if not, the challenge wass lost and the other wrestler received a point.

Prior to Rio, wrestlers had either worn red or blue singlets, depending on the colour they were assigned for each match, but in Rio they are wearing singlets presenting their country’s colours, with both light and dark versions and understated red and blue markings.

This modernized version of wrestling in Rio saw 346 wrestlers competing in 18 events from 66 nations with a maximum of one wrestler per country per weight division, with between 18-21 wrestlers per division. Russia lead the entries with 17 wrestlers, followed by Azerbaijan, Turkey and USA tied for 2nd with 14 competitors a piece. The wrestling tournament at the 2016 Olympic Games was held from 14 to 21 August at the Carioca Arena 2 in Barra da Tijuca, which also held the Olympic judo competitions. After the Olympic Games, it became a permanent training centre for a variety of sports.

The competition format consisted of a single-elimination tournament to reduce the number to the 16 used to determine the winner of two bronze medals. The two finalists faced off for gold and silver medals. Each wrestler who lost to one of the two finalists moved into the repêchage, culminating in a pair of bronze medal matches featuring the semi-final losers each facing the remaining repêchage opponent from their half of the bracket.

There were two sessions of competition on each day of the Rio Olympic wrestling program. Except for the last day, the first session (qualification and elimination) was held in the early afternoon, and the second session (repêchage, bronze medal and gold medal) started at 4:00 PM (except for Closing Ceremony day of 21 August - the timing for the first and second session were early morning (8:30 AM start) and early afternoon (12:45 PM start) respectively.


Event Status Date Participants NOCs
Featherweight, Greco-Roman (≤59 kilograms), Men Olympic 14 August 2016 19 19
Welterweight, Greco-Roman (≤66 kilograms), Men Olympic 16 August 2016 18 18
Middleweight, Greco-Roman (≤75 kilograms), Men Olympic 14 August 2016 20 20
Light-Heavyweight, Greco-Roman (≤85 kilograms), Men Olympic 15 August 2016 21 21
Heavyweight, Greco-Roman (≤98 kilograms), Men Olympic 16 August 2016 19 19
Super-Heavyweight, Greco-Roman (≤130 kilograms), Men Olympic 15 August 2016 19 19
Featherweight, Freestyle (≤57 kilograms), Men Olympic 19 August 2016 20 20
Welterweight, Freestyle (≤65 kilograms), Men Olympic 21 August 2016 21 21
Middleweight, Freestyle (≤74 kilograms), Men Olympic 19 August 2016 19 19
Light-Heavyweight, Freestyle (≤86 kilograms), Men Olympic 20 August 2016 19 19
Heavyweight, Freestyle (≤97 kilograms), Men Olympic 21 August 2016 19 19
Super-Heavyweight, Freestyle (≤125 kilograms), Men Olympic 20 August 2016 20 20
Flyweight, Freestyle (≤48 kilograms), Women Olympic 17 August 2016 18 18
Featherweight, Freestyle (≤53 kilograms), Women Olympic 18 August 2016 19 19
Lightweight, Freestyle (≤58 kilograms), Women Olympic 17 August 2016 20 20
Middleweight, Freestyle (≤63 kilograms), Women Olympic 18 August 2016 19 19
Light-Heavyweight, Freestyle (≤69 kilograms), Women Olympic 17 August 2016 18 18
Heavyweight, Freestyle (≤75 kilograms), Women Olympic 18 August 2016 18 18
346 (234/112) 66 (55/44)


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Featherweight, Greco-Roman, Men Ismael BorreroCUB Shinobu OtaJPN Stig André Berge
Elmurat Tasmuradov
Welterweight, Greco-Roman, Men Davor ŠtefanekSRB Migran ArutyunyanARM Rəsul Çunayev
Shmagi Bolkvadze
Middleweight, Greco-Roman, Men Roman VlasovRUS Mark O. MadsenDEN Saeid Abdevali
Kim Hyeon-U
Light-Heavyweight, Greco-Roman, Men Davit ChakvetadzeRUS Zhan BeleniukUKR Dzhavid Hamzatau
Denis Kudla
Heavyweight, Greco-Roman, Men Artur AleksanyanARM Yasmany LugoCUB Ghasem Rezaei
Cenk İldem
Super-Heavyweight, Greco-Roman, Men Mijaín LópezCUB Rıza KayaalpTUR Sabah Şəriəti
Sergey Semyonov
Featherweight, Freestyle, Men Vladimer KhinchegashviliGEO Rei HiguchiJPN Hacı Əliyev
Hassan Rahimi
Welterweight, Freestyle, Men Soslan RamonovRUS Toğrul ƏsgərovAZE Frank Chamizo
Ikhtiyor Navruzov
Middleweight, Freestyle, Men Hassan YazdaniIRI Aniuar GeduyevRUS Cəbrayıl Həsənov
Soner Demirtaş
Light-Heavyweight, Freestyle, Men Abdulrashid SadulayevRUS Selim YaşarTUR Şərif Şərifov
J'den Cox
Heavyweight, Freestyle, Men Kyle SnyderUSA Xetaq QazyumovAZE Albert Saritov
Magomed Ibragimov
Super-Heavyweight, Freestyle, Men Taha AkgülTUR Komeil GhasemiIRI Ibrahim Saidau
Geno Petriashvili
Flyweight, Freestyle, Women Eri TosakaJPN Mariya StadnikAZE Elitsa Yankova
Sun Yanan
Featherweight, Freestyle, Women Helen MaroulisUSA Saori YoshidaJPN Nataliya Sinişin
Sofia Mattsson
Lightweight, Freestyle, Women Kaori IchoJPN Valeriya KoblovaRUS Sakshi Malik
Marwa Amri
Middleweight, Freestyle, Women Risako KawaiJPN Maryia MamashukBLR Yekaterina Larionova
Monika Michalik
Light-Heavyweight, Freestyle, Women Sara DoshoJPN Nataliya VorobyovaRUS Elmira Syzdykova
Jenny Fransson
Heavyweight, Freestyle, Women Erica WiebeCAN Gyuzel ManyurovaKAZ Zhang Fengliu
Yekaterina Bukina

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Russian Federation RUS 4 3 2 9
Japan JPN 4 3 0 7
Cuba CUB 2 1 0 3
United States USA 2 0 1 3
Türkiye TUR 1 2 2 5
Islamic Republic of Iran IRI 1 1 3 5
Armenia ARM 1 1 0 2
Georgia GEO 1 0 2 3
Canada CAN 1 0 0 1
Serbia SRB 1 0 0 1
Azerbaijan AZE 0 3 6 9
Belarus BLR 0 1 2 3
Kazakhstan KAZ 0 1 2 3
Denmark DEN 0 1 0 1
Ukraine UKR 0 1 0 1
Uzbekistan UZB 0 0 3 3
People's Republic of China CHN 0 0 2 2
Sweden SWE 0 0 2 2
Bulgaria BUL 0 0 1 1
Germany GER 0 0 1 1
India IND 0 0 1 1
Italy ITA 0 0 1 1
Norway NOR 0 0 1 1
Poland POL 0 0 1 1
Republic of Korea KOR 0 0 1 1
Romania ROU 0 0 1 1
Tunisia TUN 0 0 1 1