Sport Focus: 12 Things You Didn't Know About Wrestling

January 24, 2020

Wrestling has been a regular contributor to the Team Scotland medal tally since the sport made its Commonwealth Games debut 90 years ago. As our Sport Focus comes to a close, here are 12 things you might not know about the sport and its history at the Games:

1. Wrestling was one of the six sports contested at the first Commonwealth Games (then known as the Empire Games). The others were Aquatics, Athletics, Boxing, Lawn Bowls and Rowing.


2. The two styles that have appeared in the Commonwealth Games are Freestyle and Greco-Roman. In Greco-Roman is limited to techniques from the waist up. In Freestyle there are still restricted holds but use of the legs and holds below the hips are allowed.


3. Freestyle Wrestling has appeared at every Games that has included Wrestling events. Greco-Roman has only been contested once – at the Delhi 2010 Games.


4. Scotland has won a total of 21 medals in Wrestling across all Games; one gold, five silver and fifteen bronze. Albert Patrick is Scotland’s most decorated wrestler with two silver and one bronze medal, won between 1978 and 1986. Edward Melrose, who took the Bantamweight title in 1934 remains Scotland’s only gold medallist in Wrestling to date.


5. After a string of podium finishes between 1958 and 1994, Scotland went 20 years without a Wrestling medal at the Commonwealth Games until Viorel Etko and Alex Gladkov each won bronze at Glasgow 2014.


6. Women’s Wrestling events were first included at Delhi 2010 and Scotland sent a full complement of seven female wrestlers to the Games. Jayne Clason, Sarah Jones and Ashlea McManus were the top performers but all lost out in their bronze medal bouts.


7. Twins Donna and Fiona Robertson made the switch to Wrestling for the Delhi 2010 Games having both won Commonwealth Games medals in Judo. Donna won bronze in the 48kg event at Auckland 1990 while Fiona won bronze in the same category at Manchester 2002.


8. The Stockholm 1912 Olympic Games saw the longest Wrestling match in history, lasting 11 hours 40 minutes. Martin Klein of Russia eventually beat Alfred Asikainen of Finland but was so exhausted he was declared unfit to compete in the final. These Games also saw the longest ever Olympic final at 9 hours which was eventually declared a tie and both athletes received silver medals with no gold awarded.


9. Amateur wrestling was limited to three three-minute rounds effective in all international competition from 1967. In the current rules for Junior and Senior wrestlers, the duration of a bout is two periods of three minutes with a 30-second break between them.


10. Freestyle Wrestling was developed in Great-Britain and in the United States under the name of catch-as-catch-can and became the favourite attraction in fairs and popular celebrations during the 19th century. The goal of this discipline was to bring the adversary’s shoulder to the ground and almost all holds were allowed.


11. Among a wrestler’s equipment is a cloth handkerchief, also known as a blood rag, used to wipe away blood or sweat during a bout. It is carried inside the wrestler’s singlet.


12. Wrestling at the Birmingham 2022 Games will take place at Coventry Stadium & Indoor Arena, also the venue for Rugby 7s and Judo.

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