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Thread: Beginner's Introduction to the 2008 Beijing Olympics (Freestyle/Greco-Roman)

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    Default Beginner's Introduction to the 2008 Beijing Olympics (Freestyle/Greco-Roman)



    Time and Venue



    The wrestling event of the 29th Olympic Games will be held
    at China Agriculture University Gymnasium in Beijing from
    August 12-21, 2008.




    If the Olympic Games are a history of mankind, wrestling is the prologue. When the ancient Games of the Olympiad were born, wrestling already was an ancient game. Widely recognized as the world's oldest competitive sport, wrestling appeared in a series of Egyptian wall paintings as many as 5000 years ago. When the Games began in 776 BC, more than two millenniums later, it included wrestling, and, in the years that followed, wrestling featured as the main event.

    The sport would return in a similar role when the Olympic Games returned after a 1500-year absence in 1896. Organizers, seeking direct links to ancient times, found a natural in the sport that had enjoyed popularity across much of the ancient world, from Greece, Assyria and Babylon to India, China and Japan. They resurrected Greco-Roman wrestling, a style they believed to be an exact carryover from the Greek and Roman wrestlers of old.



    History of wrestling at the Olympics



    Freestyle
    Wrestling was on the program at the first modern Olympics in 1896, and 1900 was the only year that wrestling did not feature on the program at all. Both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling have been consistently contested at the Olympics since 1920. Prior to that (except in 1908), only one form was used, usually Greco-Roman.

    Today the dominant country in wrestling is Russia, especially in the Greco-Roman style. The United States is close to the Russians in freestyle, however. Other countries which produce top international wrestlers include Iran, Turkey and Mongolia, and wrestling is the national sport of these three nations.

    At the 2000 Games in Sydney the wrestling program underwent a change. Since 1972, wrestling has had 10 classes in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, but during the Sydney Games only eight classes were contested in each style. The weights also changed slightly, and the lightest class, usually termed light-flyweight, has basically been eliminated. Reducing the number of classes from 10 to 7 for freestyle and Greco-Roman allowed four classes of women's wrestling to be introduced at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

    Greco-Roman
    Wrestling was on the program at the first modern Olympics in 1896, and 1900 was the only year that wrestling did not feature on the program at all. Both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling have been consistently contested at the Olympics since 1920. Prior to that (except in 1908), only one form was used, usually Greco-Roman.

    Today the dominant country in wrestling is Russia, especially in the Greco-Roman style. The United States is close to the Russians in freestyle, however. Other countries which produce top international wrestlers include Iran, Turkey and Mongolia, and wrestling is the national sport of these three nations.

    At the 2000 Games in Sydney the wrestling program underwent a change. Since 1972, wrestling has had 10 classes in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, but during the Sydney Games only eight classes were contested in each style. The weights also changed slightly, and the lightest class, usually termed light-flyweight, has basically been eliminated.

    In Greco-Roman wrestling, the wrestlers used only their arms and upper bodies to attack. They could hold only those same parts of their opponents. It worked nicely from a historical perspective, but another breezier style was sweeping across Great Britain and the United States by then. Known as "catch as catch can", it had become standard fare - and popular professional entertainment - at fairs and festivals in both countries.
    In 1904, the Olympic Games added the second wrestling event and called it "freestyle". Now, wrestlers could use their legs for pushing, lifting and tripping, and they could hold opponents above or below the waist.

    (Credit: IOC. Click here for further information.)
    Last edited by Schlottke; 04-15-2008 at 03:44 PM.

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