Changes in the Olympic Sport of Wrestling. A Look at Various Changes Since the Ancient Olympic Games. The sport of wrestling has undergone several changes since Ancient Greece, including the mat, styles of wrestling, weight classes, time limits, and the inclusion of women.
The sport of wrestling has undergone several changes since Ancient Greece, including the mat, styles of wrestling, weight classes, time limits, and the inclusion of women. The sport of wrestling did not become an Olympic event until 708 B.C. Wrestling was practiced throughout the Middle Ages (the fifth century to the fifteenth century) in the form of entertainment for royalty; and was later brought to America by the early settlers. The Olympic Games were revived in 1896 and were held in Athens, Greece. Wrestling has been on the agenda for the Games ever since its revival, except in the year 1900 and also when the Games were not held during the World Wars.
In the ancient Olympics, a wrestling match was held in a circular space called the “‘keroma’, or beeswax, a muddy and sticky arena. The arena changed when the Olympics were revived in 1896. The Olympic Committee kept the same shape used in the ancient Olympics, but changed the “material” of it. In the first days of the revived Olympic wrestling, the matches took place outside in a circular sand pit. In today’s Olympics, wrestlers do not use a sandy area-they wrestle on an Olympic regulated mat with a 9m circle of competition area.
Ancient Styles of Wrestling
In the ancient Olympics there were two types of wrestling: “Orthio pale (upright and proper wrestling)” and “Kato pale (ground wrestling)”. In Orthio pale, wrestlers were required to throw their opponent to the ground three times to constitute a win (the match was held without stop until a winner was declared). In Kato pale wrestling, the opponent had to acknowledge defeat by raising their “right hand with the index finger pointed”. In both styles, the primary rules included: no blows, biting, nor gouging, but “tripping was permitted”.
Modern Styles of Wrestling
Wrestling, beginning in the 20th century, also has two styles of wrestling: Greco-Roman and Free-Style. Greco-Roman wrestling is probably the closest form of wrestling used during the Ancient Olympics, because Greco-Roman wrestlers cannot use their legs (i.e. tripping) nor can they grab below the waist of their opponent. Wrestlers of this style primarily use their back muscles combined with upper body strength. Freestyle is full body and tends to be more point oriented rather than toward pinning. Back points are awarded to a wrestler once their opponent’s shoulders are less than ninety degrees to the mat, and a technical pin can occur when a competitor obtains enough points more than their opponent.
Changes In Time Limits and Weight Classes
There was also no time limit to each match. In 1886, there were eight weight classes (from lightest to heaviest): flyweight, bantam weight, feather weight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light-heavy weight, and heavy weight. More weight classes were added as more men participated in wrestling, around the 1970s. Today, a match consists of two 3minute periods unless a pin occurs; there’s also a 3-minute overtime period when necessary.
Women were strictly forbidden to participate in the ancient Olympics. In the later Common Era, it is speculated that women have been practicing wrestling, but outside of competitions. The first Women’s World Championship in wrestling was held in1897, and women’s wrestling became an Olympic event in the summer of 2004.
Because of these changes, and many more (like the uniform), both genders with a wide range of body weights can enjoy the sport of wrestling in a safer environment.