Wrestling

Facts

Discipline of Wrestling
Participants 4960
NOCs 131
Competitions held 410 (Venues)
Distinct events 44
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 B.C., shortly after the Games’ recorded history begins in 776 B.C. Ancient Olympic champions are recorded from Eurybatos of Sparta (708 B.C.) through Aurelius Aelix of Phoenicia (213 A.D.). The most titled champions at Olympia were Milon of Kroton, who won five titles in wrestling (532‑516 B.C.) and one in boys’ wrestling (540 B.C.), and Hipposthenes of Sparta, who also won five wrestling titles (624‑608 B.C.) and one boys’ wrestling title (632 B.C.) 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 Athens.

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, and Japan. Eight wrestlers have won three Olympic gold medals, with Aleksandr Karelin (URS/EUN/RUS) and Artur Taymazov (UZB) also winning a silver medal for four medals in all.

The wrestling international federation was known as the Fédération internationale de luttes associées (FILA), which was formed in 1912 and had 176 affiliated nations as of 2018. In September 2014 the name of the federation was changed to United World Wrestling (UWW).

Wrestling is govern by the United World Wrestling (UWW), which was formed in 1921 as 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 Internationale Ring Verband was formed in 1912 at the Stockholm Olympics and was the first organization only responsible for wrestling. Before 1921 wrestling was also governed in Amateur Athleten Weltunion (1905-1907), Internationaler Weltverband für Schwerathletik (1913-1920), and Internationaler Kraftsportverband (1920-1921), who did not only govern wrestling, but also boxing, tug-of-war, weight throwing, and weightlifting.

All-time medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Soviet Union URS 62 31 23 116
United States USA 52 42 35 129
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 18 12 35
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 7 15
Norway NOR 4 2 2 8
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
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

Most successful competitors

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
Aleksandr Medved 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

Event types

Name Gender Still contested? Times held?
Featherweight, Greco-Roman Men 24
Lightweight, Greco-Roman Men 25
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
Lightweight, Freestyle Men 24
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 kilogrammes, Greco Roman Boys 2
≤50 kilogrammes, Greco Roman Boys 2
≤58 kilogrammes, Greco Roman Boys 2
≤69 kilogrammes, Greco Roman Boys 2
≤85 kilogrammes, Greco Roman Boys 2
≤46 kilogrammes, Freestyle Boys 2
≤54 kilogrammes, Freestyle Boys 2
≤63 kilogrammes, Freestyle Boys 2
≤76 kilogrammes, Freestyle Boys 2
≤100 kilogrammes, Freestyle Boys 2
≤46 kilogrammes, Freestyle Girls 2
≤52 kilogrammes, Freestyle Girls 2
≤60 kilogrammes, Freestyle Girls 2
≤70 kilogrammes, Freestyle Girls 2
Light-Flyweight, Greco-Roman Men 7
Flyweight, Greco-Roman Men 13
Bantamweight, Greco-Roman Men 18
Middleweight A, Greco-Roman Men 1
Middleweight B, Greco-Roman Men 1
Unlimited Class, Greco-Roman Men 1
All-Around, Greco-Roman Men 1
Light-Flyweight, Freestyle Men 8
Flyweight, Freestyle Men 14
Bantamweight, Freestyle Men 20