The Wrestling competition at the 2012 Olympic Games took place at the ExCeL London over August 5-12. A total of 344 wrestlers from across the globe took part.
Wrestling has two styles: freestyle (men and women) and Greco-roman. In freestyle wrestling, it is permissible to grasp the legs of the opponent, to trip the opponent and to use the legs as well as the upper body in the execution of any action. In Greco-roman wrestling, it is forbidden to intentionally grasp the opponent below the hips, to trip the opponent or to use the legs actively in executing any action. The aim of the match is to ‘pin’ your opponent or win by points.
The Wrestling area is a square or octagonal mat measuring 12 metres on each side. The ‘central wrestling area’ is a large circle in the middle of the mat, measuring nine metres in diameter. The central wrestling area is bordered by a red-coloured ‘passive zone’, one metre in width. Wrestlers square off in the centre of the mat at the beginning of a match or whenever the referee restarts the match after wrestling has extended beyond the passive zone (out-of-bounds). The two diametrically opposite corners of the mat have the colours of the wrestling suits worn by the two opponents: red and blue.
Wrestlers are divided into categories according to their age and weight. At the Olympic Games in London, athletes competed in the following weight categories:
Men’s Greco-roman: 55kg, 60kg, 66kg, 74kg, 84kg, 96kg, 120kg
Wrestlers must wear a ‘singlet’ of the colour assigned to them (red or blue). The singlet must be 60% majority red or blue and a maximum of mid-thigh in length. When called to the mat, wrestlers must appear on the edge of the mat, in their respectively coloured corners, with singlet straps up and shoelaces secured.
Three officials score a wrestling match: the referee, the judge and the mat chairman. The referee is on the mat and makes the initial call on points, which are verified by the judge (matside). The mat chairman has final say on points awarded if there is a disagreement between the referee and the judge.
A wrestling match is scored and judged on periods won or a fall, as follows:
The match will consist of the best two out of three periods, two minutes in length each, with 30 seconds interval between each period. At the end of each period a wrestler is declared the winner of that period. Once a wrestler wins two periods the match is over.
A fall or pin occurs when both shoulders of the defensive wrestler are instantaneously held in contact with the mat for a sufficient time to allow the referee to observe total control. The referee acknowledges and registers the fall (having first agreed with the judge or mat chairman) by blowing the whistle and simultaneously striking the mat with his/her hand. A fall signals the end of the match regardless of the period in which it occurs or the standings of the wrestlers at that point.
If there are no falls, the match is judged on points accumulated during a given period. The wrestler who has been allocated the most points in a period is declared the winner of that period. If, at any time, the difference in points between the contestants is more than six, the match is stopped and the winner of the period is the wrestler who holds the lead, due to a “technical superiority” over his/her opponent. A technical superiority can also occur by performing a grand amplitude hold (five points), or by scoring two holds (worth three points).
In Greco-roman wrestling, after one minute in each period, the referee will stop the bout and begin the ordered hold ‘par terre’ position (hands and knees on the mat). The wrestler who has scored the most points to this point or is determined to be ahead by the criterion for winning a match, will take the advantage position first. If neither wrestler has scored, the winner of the disk draw will take the advantage position. The advantaged wrestler will have 30 seconds to score from this position. If the advantaged wrestler does not score, the opponent receives a point. After the 30 seconds the advantage position is reversed for the two wrestlers and the process is repeated.
Technical points are awarded for various takedowns and hold, depending on the level of control during the execution of the move, or the difficulty of the move. The points are allocated as follows:
• One point is awarded for a takedown, or bringing an opponent down to the mat in a way that the attacker ends up in control. One point can also be awarded to a wrestler any time his/her opponent steps out of bounds, except when the offensive wrestler steps out of bounds in the process of completing a technique.
• Two points are awarded for turning an opponent’s shoulders so the back or part of the back is touching the mat at less than right angle to the mat. This puts the opponent in the danger position. If the defending wrestler is kept in the danger position for five consecutive seconds as counted by the referee, the opponent receives an additional point.
• Three points are awarded for taking an opponent off his/her feet and into the danger position in one action.
• Five points are awarded for a grand amplitude throw, where the opponent loses all contact with the mat and lands on the mat in a direct and immediate danger position. This action would end the period unless the action was allowed to progress to a fall.
Wrestlers who flee the mat, flee a hold, apply an illegal hold, clinch position or assume an incorrect par terre starting position may be given a caution. This results in their opponent receiving one technical point. The opponent of a wrestler who receives three cautions over the duration of a complete match will be declared the winner of the match.