Freestyle wrestling is a kind of martial arts of two athletes using various technical techniques, such as capture, throw, flip, step, sweep and others. The main task of each of the rivals is to achieve victory by putting the other on the shoulder blades.
The fight lasts exactly 5 minutes. If in the allotted time, none of the opponents won, that is, did not win a clear victory or scored at least three points, then the fight continues for another 3 minutes. The fight will continue until one of the athletes scores three or more points or scores a carcass (a clear victory).
Fighting, as a form of physical exercise, has been known since ancient times. Such competitions were included in the program of the ancient Olympic Games, like the pentathlon (pentathlon). The countries of Europe in the 18th century practiced similar gymnastic systems, where along with other physical exercises there was a struggle. The greatest development was gained in France. Classical wrestling spread in all countries of Western Europe thanks to the repeated performances of French professional wrestlers. The technique of the French struggle was reminiscent of the one that was cultivated in Rome and Ancient Greece, therefore it was called as Greco-Roman.
The history of the emergence and development of freestyle wrestling dates back many decades. It got its name “free” because it differed from the classical one by less limited rules. The rules of freestyle wrestling gave the fighter greater freedom in choosing methods to achieve victory.
Freestyle wrestling appeared on the international sports arena much later than Greco-Roman wrestling. It is England that is considered the birthplace of freestyle wrestling. After a while, freestyle wrestling appeared in America, where it began to develop in two directions – as a struggle and as a cult of professionals.
The wildest techniques were practiced on a professional rug: twisting joints, joint grabs, painful techniques, etc. Of course, professional wrestlers often pretended atrocities against each other in order to arouse interest in fights. They began to cultivate wrestling more correctly in the universities and colleges of the USA, where they called such wrestling “a free-American amateur wrestling”.
The first freestyle wrestling competitions took place at the Olympic Games in the USA in 1904. Only American wrestlers took part in this fight, including 38 people. Thus, starting from this time, the United States has traditionally performed well in freestyle wrestling competitions. During the period from 1904 to 1996, American wrestlers received 99 medals at the Olympic Games.
The USSR national team, now Russia, has been competing with the best wrestlers in the USA for many years in a row. Other countries where this type of struggle has become the most popular are Iran and Turkey. Some sports observers once suggested that the International Olympic Committee could exclude Greco-Roman wrestling from the program of the Olympic Games, as this type of wrestling has become the most popular among martial arts in many countries.
As for the development of free-style wrestling in the USSR, it is important to note that the classical type of wrestling here began to develop much earlier than the free-style wrestling. Freestyle wrestling developed to a greater extent in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, since the types of wrestling cultivated there for their rules were similar to the internationally recognized type of freestyle wrestling. In 1945, a collection of trainers of the USSR was held, where the technique of a new type of wrestling was studied, the development of which in the country was personally monitored by I.V. Stalin. In the same year, the first USSR championship was held, in which many classic wrestlers took part, a slice in several weight categories.
The most significant Games that brought wrestlers 7 awards of the highest standard were the Olympic Games in Moscow. In 1972 and 1976, participants in the freestyle wrestling brought 5 gold medals. During their participation in such a competition, Soviet wrestlers were 30 times on the highest level of the Olympic podium. In 1954, Soviet wrestlers competed for the first time at the World Championships in Tokyo, where they won 3 gold medals. The European debut took place in 1966, where six Soviet athletes became champions. Among these champions was Alexander Medved, the titled freestyle wrestler who became the first three-time Olympic champion in the history of freestyle wrestling. Today, in his arsenal there are already seven gold medals of the world championships, in three weight categories, eight titles of the country and three – of Europe.
Wrestling, like any other sport, has its own rules, the purpose of which is to put your opponent on the shoulder blades (to hold the carcass) or defeat him by the number of points scored. It is important to know about some of the differences between freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling:
– the rules of Greco-Roman wrestling prohibit capturing the opponent below the belt, actively use his legs, while performing the technique, as well as put the bandwagon;
– the rules of freestyle wrestling just allow the capture of the opponent’s legs, the active use of the legs during the implementation of the reception and steps;