Sunday, February 14, 2016

Wrestling in the Summer Olympics Games

Wrestling has been a competitive sport all over the world for thousands of years. In the olden days and in many cultures across the world, wrestling was a male sporting event and was also part of the Ancient Olympics. Well as things were in those olden days, it was for men only.

Hardly were women allowed to participate in wrestling competitions but during the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, Wrestling sport is open to both genders.

In competitive sports and in multi-sport games like the Summer Olympics, it is an individual event where the competitors use hands and legs as well as body strength and power to throw and pin the opponent to the ground. The winners are the one who manage to throw and pin an opponent on the ground as many times as possible accumulating points.

Since it would be unfair to pair one very strong person to wrest a much smaller and lighter opponent; like in Summer Olympics Boxing, weight is used classify and determine who should compete with who. But it was not like that in the 1896 Summer Olympics as there was no weight classification back then. Weight was introduced in the 1904 Olympics.

I the Summer Olympics different wrestling events are categorized using body weight, almost similar to boxing and weightlifting. Besides using the weight to categorize events in the Olympics, other method of categorizing wrestling is by use of wrestling distinct styles. These styles have different rules of engagement.

Wrestling is either a professional or armature levels.

Styles of wrestling used in the Summer Olympics including the planned Rio 2016 are Freestyle and are Greco-Roman.

Wrestling was part of the 10 sports that featured in the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens and participants competed for two days; 10th and 11th of April of 1896. The venue for wrestling was the Panathenaic Stadium which was also the venue for the opening and closing ceremony. Five competitors from the following nations participated.

In the first edition of the Summer Olympics Great Britain had one competitor; Launceston Elliot from Scotland, Germany had one competitor; who was the winner of the gold medal, host Greece had 2 competitors; Georgios Tsita who won the silver medal and Stephanos Christopoulos who went home with a bronze medal. Hungary too had one competitor; multi-talented MomĨilo Tapavica.

Back then only Greco-Roman style featured but even then no wrestling would feature in the 1900 games. When wrestling was brought back to the Summer Olympics of 1904, it was not the Greco-Roman open that had featured in 1896, but a weight classified freestyle wrestling. Weight classified Greco-Roman as well as weight classified would be part of the 1908 Summer Olympics. Since then wrestling in the Summer Olympics has only two styles, the freestyle and the Greco-Roman.

Wrestling and boxing are some of the sports International Olympics Committee has been contemplating of removing due to increased cost of planning for Olympics Games, however IOC have reassured fans that wrestling will be part of the 2020 Summer Olympics and it will feature amateurs only.

Wrestling in the Summer Olympics is governed and regulated by United World Wrestling previously known as International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA)

Women started competing in Summer Olympics wrestling in 2004 Athens Sumer Olympics and in the last 4 edition they have only participated in 4 weight classes in freestyle. These weights are, 48 Kilograms, 53, kilograms, 58 kilograms and 63 kilograms. However in the coming Rio 2013 Summer Olympics, the women team will compete in two more weight classes. These two weight classes are 69 kilograms and 75 kilograms. Women have never competed in any Greco-Roman style like their male counterpart, their events have been only in freestyle and it will be the same even for Rio Summer Olympics.