Greco Roman Wrestling: Man has always had to defend his peace of land, river, lake, killed animal, etc. so the fight in the utilitarian sense has always been a means of survival, self-defense.
In more recent times greco roman wrestling began to play a crucial role in the application of warriors’ physical preparation. Greco Roman Wrestling reached true development in ancient Greece. It has been widely displayed in the Greek literature and in works of fine art. The fact that Greco Roman Wrestling, after running, in Greece was included in the program of some of the first (shortly after the year 776 BC) Olympic Games also proves the importance and popularity of this kind of sport. In classical Greek pentathlon (running, javelin throwing, discus, jumps, wrestling) it was just Greco Roman Wrestling which has become the original program’s kind of sports. Later, Greco Roman Wrestling entered the pankration – a connection with combat fistfights – as is already the third of its kind in the ancient Olympic Games. People’s love for contests in ancient Greece spawned massive spectacles. There appeared professionals on specific competitions (running, jumping, wrestling, fistfights battle). Professionalism was vividly demonstrated especially in Greco Roman Wrestling, because Greco Roman Wrestling was the most popular spectacle, and fighters – professionals trained in special schools.
Having conquered Greece, Rome mastered Greek culture. Greco Roman Wrestling in Rome also became one of the most popular circus shows, and the winners became crowd’s idols. The Greco Roman Wrestling was shown in Rome, also in conjunction with fistfights, and in gladiator battles – with armed fight. With the advent of Christianity these types of wrestling gradually came to decline, at the end of IV century BC all public gladiators’ schools were closed and the Olympic Games ceased to exist. Though Greco Roman Wrestling remained beloved and popular entertainment during the dark years of the Middle Ages. At the end of XVIII – beginning of XIX century modern Greco Roman wrestling began its forming. The main rules were laid in France, where Greco Roman Wrestling at that time was especially popular in rural and urban areas. Because of great interest caused by wrestlers’ competitions, athletes started acting in traveling circuses, summer gardens, places for promenade and entertainment. Later, citywide, France, and then world championships were organized. Good championship organization established a broad advertising to professional Greco Roman Wrestling an extraordinary success.
In 1848 in Paris appeared first stages, on which professional fighters acted. Wrestlers from other countries (Germans, Italians, Turks, Russians …) started to come to France, to take part in these championships, to get acquainted with their organization, rules of competition. Subsequently, they started to organize this kind of competition in their own countries. As a result, the French wrestling gained international recognition, but in its title sounded name the country which has made this kind of wrestling is truly massive sport. Of course, wrestling in the world evolved in different directions. It depended on national traditions, cultures from the influence of neighboring countries, etc. In Europe wide spread got the French Greco Roman wrestling, in Asia, East, in America – freestyle wrestling.
In 1896 French wrestling has been included in the program of the first modern Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee gave it an official name – Greco Roman wrestling, to show the international nature of this kind of sports. The first Games attended 5 people, who represented 4 countries (two were from Greece, three for Germany, Hungary, and Great Britain). There was no division of the wrestlers in weight categories at those Games. Since then, Greco Roman wrestling with the exception of two Olympic Games (1900 and 1904 years) always was a part of the Olympic competitions.
In 1912 combat international federation (FILA) was founded. Today it is one of the largest and most influential sports organizations.
Regarding the title, in different years this kind of wrestling was given many names: professionals known as its “French struggle”, lovers – “Greco Roman wrestling”. In our country in 1948 the All-Union Committee for Physical Culture and Sport approved the following names for certain kinds of combat sports: French or Greco Roman wrestling fight became known as “classical”, free-American – “style”, old free-style wrestling was named “Sambo” (from the acronym “self-defense without weapons”). Finally, the name “Greco Roman wrestling” in 1991 has been adopted instead of “classical”.
In Greco Roman wrestling takeovers limited upper part of the body, and participants have no right to use tricks with the actions of the legs. In free style taking of any part of the body is allowed, also leg holds and undercuts. Up to 50-ies in international competitions in Greco Roman wrestling the most successful were representatives of Finland and Sweden, fighters from Hungary and Turkey have repeatedly sought success.
When in 1952 Soviet wrestlers entered the arena, specialists traditionally began to call them the strongest, now Russian athletes (despite the unfortunate statement in Atlanta). Also strong are Cuba, Germany, Ukraine, and Poland.
The program of the Olympic Games in 1996 in Greco-Roman wrestling competitions went on such weight categories: up to 48 kg, to 52 kg, to 57 kg, to 62 kg, to 68 kg, to 74 kg, to 82 kg, to 90 kg, to 100 kg, to 130 kg.
Round ends when the fall is counted, the fighter puts the opponent on both wings on the carpet (at least for half a second). The advantage in 10 points of one of the fighters also leads to ending of the wrestling. In addition, the victory is counted if the wrestler scored more points by the end of the five-minute match or his opponent was injured or disqualified. If none of the wrestlers not scored more than three points, or they have an equal number of points, additional time is given.
After one loss the athlete retires from the struggle for “gold”, but could eventually be the candidate for a bronze medal.
The wrestling as a form of entertainment and expression of strength and courage has always been popular in Russia. It was the loveliest fun on all the holidays. Russian people resigned to wrestling a lot of proverbs and sayings, fairy tales, which celebrate the strength and courage, describing fights of Russian heroes. The original ways of Russian folk wrestling should be considered the wrestling “with fight” and “without fight”. When in wrestling “without fight” opponents took each other with one hand over the gate or belt, and each of them tried to throw another on the ground, and dislodge his leg. When one did wrestling “with fight” it was allowed to him to arbitrarily seize with hands over enemy’s body. After capturing everyone tried to throw the opponent on the ground. Over time, these species have given way to the main mode of the Russian wrestling – the belt wrestling. In this form of wrestling holding with both hands over the belt of the opponent, one had to throw the opponent on his back without using of footboards and undercuts.
Broad development professional wrestling received during the emergence of Russian traveling shows, then the circus. Since 1860 belt wrestling has become an integral part of circus program, the wrestlers competed not only in fighting but also in various exercises with gravity.
As in other countries, sport wrestling in Russia was recognized at the end of the XIX century. In 1885 in St. Petersburg Russia’s first “club of weightlifting sports fans” was founded. Following the St. Petersburg clubs of wrestling fans were established in Moscow, Kiev, Riga and other cities of Russia. In 1896 The Charter Petersburg athletic society was approved, and a year later, in 1897 in St. Petersburg, the first Russian amateur wrestling amateur championship was held, and this date is considered to be the beginning of the development of amateur sport wrestling in Russia. A great role in the development of amateur wrestling was played by professional wrestling. Professional fight itself was almost devoid of sports content. The results of fights and the distribution of prizes during championships were mainly pre-planned by entrepreneurs. Participants for the championships were chosen so that they interested their spectators and appease its not very demanding tastes. Professional wrestling was on the whole a theatrical performance and a good means of agitation of fans.
From the list of professional wrestlers especially famous became Ivan Poddubny, six-time world champion, also popular were such wrestlers as Ivan Shemyakin, Ivan Zaikin, Nikolai Vahturov etc.
For a long period of time, the wrestling as a kind of sports in Russia was not presented by any organization. Held in 1897, 1898, 1899 Russia’s championships suspended, and since 1900 to 1912 championships in Russia didn’t take place. Only in 1913 a Russian weightlifting Union was created and brought together the work of 16 cities in Russia. It cultivated wrestling. This Union resumed the championship of the country. In 1913 in Riga the fourth championship of Russia was held. The next championships were held in 1914, in January 1915, and at the end of 1915 in Moscow the last – seventh championship of pre-revolutionary Russia was held.
Russian wrestlers, who first took part in the IV Olympic Games in 1908 in London, achieved notable success. In Greco Roman wrestling N. Orlov (Welterweight, 25 participants from 10 countries) won a silver Olympic medal, A. Petrov (heavy weight, 7 participants from 4 countries) also the II took place. For the first time Russia officially participated in the following, V Olympic Games in 1912 in Stockholm. These Games for Russia were unfortunate, just M. Klein (average weight 38 participants from 14 countries) won the Olympic “silver”.
By the beginning of the First World War there were about 20 sports organizations in Russia, cultivating wrestling, the total number of fans was about 250-300 people. After the First World War, the October Revolution and civil war the first championship of the USSR on the classic wrestling was held only in 1924. 40 athletes participated in it. One of the champions was Vladimir Ivanov, the author of one of the first textbooks, which was called “The French struggle” and was issued in 1929. V. Ivanov was also one of the first teachers of wrestling in the Central Institute of Physical Culture in Moscow (now the Academy of Physical Culture). B. Ivanov brought up famous in the thirties wrestlers G. Pylnov and A. Katulin.
Also the fact that the development of each sport is inextricably linked with the rules of the competition should be mentioned. Only in 1914 Russian weightlifting Union adopted the international wrestling, and since that year all the competitions were held in five weight characteristics (lightest, light, medium, light heavyweight and heavy). Before that there were no uniform rules, and even in the same city competitions could take place in different ways.
The first new rules in USSR were been approved and published in 1924 and though in the same year the first championship of countries was held, in the USSR the classic wrestling competitions began regularly take place only since 1933.
In the history of international relations and competitions of our wrestlers there were two periods – the first – from 1924 to 1946, when there were occasional participation in international competitions in Finland, Sweden and other Scandinavian countries.
After the official entry of Soviet Federation in FILA in 1947, in the same year country’s national team took place on the first European championship on classic wrestling in Prague. In 1952, XV at the Olympics in Helsinki soviet wrestlers at one blow won four Olympic gold medals, one silver and two bronze. This enabled them to take premier place team classifications. In total, starting in 1952, representatives of the USSR and then Russia have won 38 Olympic gold medals in Greco Roman wrestling. The most titular – double Olympic champion and five world champion Valery Ryazantsev, double Olympic champion Alexander Kolchinsky, a triple Olympic champions and world champions Anatoly Kolesov and Mikhail Mamiashvili, Olympic champion and five world champion Nikolay Balboshin, the only triple Olympic champion and six world champion Alexander Karelin, awarded a state award Hero of Russia.