February 21, 2024

Sports Enthusiast

Professional Sports Purveyors

A Short History of Greco Roman Wrestling

Greco-Roman wrestling is a wrestling style practiced across the world. It first became a competition at the first Olympics in 1896, and since 1908 has been included in every summer Olympics. It is one of the six main forms of competitive wrestling practiced by amateurs internationally, along with freestyle wrestling, beach wrestling, alysh/belt wrestling, traditional/folk wrestling, and pankraton athlima.

Greco-Roman wrestling may sound ancient, but it is actually a modern style with a relatively recent development. It was developed in France in the years following the Napoleonic wars. European folk wrestling may be among the main contributors to this types of wrestling. One of its pioneers was Jean Exbrayat, a Napoleonic soldier who performed his version of “flat hand wrestling” in fairs. He reportedly established the rule against holding any parts of the body below the waist in 1948. Apparently, the name “Greco-Roman” was coined in order to link it to interest in “ancient values.”

The mechanics are simple, with two wrestlers being scored for their performance in a set of three two-minute matches, and the game could end early in the event of a pinfall, or the event of one player holding his opponent’s shoulders simultaneously on the mat. Its major difference with freestyle wrestling is the prohibition of holds below the waist. Since a player could not trip his opponent to the ground or hook around the opponent’s legs in order to avoid throws, this style of wrestling has a greater emphasis on throws.

Today, the popularity of Greco-Roman wrestling has only been boosted thanks to the UFC and champions like Brock Lesnar, Randy Couture, and Matt Hughes.