Wrestling was a discipline in the ancient Olympic Games in 708 BCE, but the Greco-Roman style was included in the first games in the modern era in Athens 1896 and became one of the most important disciplines, combining several Roman and Greek wrestling techniques.

Eight years later, free wrestling was introduced in the San Luis 1904 Games. Female free wrestling joined the Olympic program in Athens 2004.

The essence of both disciplines is the same: without any external implements and without grabbing on the clothes, two athletes try that both shoulder blades of the opponent touch in a complete manner on the mat. To achieve it, Greco-Roman wrestlers only use their upper body and arms, while free wrestling may use any part of the body.

History of this sport

There are sports that are centuries old, being practiced in different civilizations with its variants, until it was standardized to be Olympically acknowledged, as is the case of wrestling. It is a sport that has been present in several cultures and civilizations around the world, and there is plenty of data found by historians such as records and drawings that prove it. There are registries about wrestling in practically all eras of humanity, from Babylon, to Egyptian, Japanese, Chinese, Greek and Roman, from thousands of years before common era up until today.

It is believed it was born as a method to solve disputes, in a free way and where each participants used their own techniques to win in combat, which has aided indirectly the creation of several other fighting disciplines. Long before it was considered a sport, wrestling had the basic defence and attack concept, in the sense to prove superiority in a bout.

The International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles was founded in 1912, in Sydney 2000 it made a few modifications, mainly in the weight categories and their quantity.

The wrestling event has been disputed in the Pan American Games since its first edition, in Buenos Aires 1951. The historical medal count is led by the United States, a delegation with 105 gold medals.

In the picture, there are two wrestlers in position to start a combat.

How do you wrestle?

In Greco-Roman wrestling the aim is to immobilize the opponent with both shoulders on the mat, using exclusively the arms and torso. The six categories are divided by weight, up to 59 kg is the lightest, and up to 130kg is the heaviest. There is no female categories in this discipline.

The bouts happen on a 12 x 12 m mat and the combat area is 9m in diameter. They last for two periods of 3 minutes, with a 30-second rest. To win, a wrestler has to keep his opponents both shoulders on the mat for a second, after which the combat ends. This is called fall or pin.

More Less


What are the elements of a safe free wrestling equipment?

Check answer

Information for the community

Free wrestling sports clubs
For fans of wrestling, there is also a space for connection and entertainment. Wrestling sports clubs seek to promote an international change in the wrestling sport and be helpful to wrestlers and/or coaches that seek abroad an adequate club.

Go back to sports