Wrestling is recognised as the world’s oldest competitive sport. Indeed, cave drawings of wrestlers have been found dating as far back as 3000 BC. The sport was introduced into the ancient Olympics in 708 BC.

In Greco-Roman wrestling, the wrestlers use only their arms and upper bodies to attack, and can only hold those same parts of their opponents. When the modern Olympic Games resumed in Athens in 1896, wrestling became a focus of the Games. This was because organisers considered it historically significant; indeed, Greco-Roman wrestling was deemed a pure reincarnation of ancient Greek and Roman wrestling.

In 1904, Olympic officials added freestyle wrestling, commonly known as "catch as catch can", to the programme. This style had far less history and tradition than Greco-Roman but did possess great popularity: As the name suggests, freestyle is a much more open form in which wrestlers also use their legs and may hold opponents above or below the waist.

At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, the Greco-Roman wrestling programme was modified. Only eight weight categories are now represented in each style, as opposed to the 10 that had been included since the 1972 Games in Munich. The reduction in the number of categories from 10 to seven in freestyle wrestling allowed for the introduction of women’s wrestling in 2004, at the Athens Games, where there were four women’s events on the programme.

110 Athletes (50 women and 60 men)

Women / Men / Greco-Roman up to 45 kg, up to 51 kg, up to 60 kg, up to 71 kg, up to 92 kg, (men); Freestyle up to 43 kg, up to 49 kg, up to 57 kg, up to 65 kg, up to 73 kg (women) / Freestyle up to 48 kg, up to 55 kg, up to 65 kg, up to 80 kg, up to 110 kg (men)



In Greco-Roman Wrestling, it is strictly forbidden to grasp the opponent below the belt line, to trip him/her or to use the legs actively to perform any action.


The objective is to hold the opponent down with their backs on the ground. This technique is called pin.


In Freestyle Wrestling, however, it is permissible to grasp the legs of the opponent to trip him/her and to use the legs actively to perform any action.


The big difference regarding Greco- Roman wrestling is in using the legs to take the opponent down or move them. Elbowing, knee blows, choking, finger in the eye and hair pull are forbidden.


Double nelsons are strictly forbidden in Women's Freestyle.

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