Wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the world. Simple in essence, a duel of sheer strength, with little in the way of equipment, it can be attempted by many, mastered by few.
It was heavily featured in the ancient Olympics due to its simplicity and that popularly has endured throughout the millennia right the way up to the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Forget WWE, men in spandex and ‘working the mic’, this is authentic wrestling, the heart of what made Greek pulses race, several thousand years prior to John Cena, with three categories of competition and 18 gold medals up for grabs.
RadioTimes.com brings you up to speed with everything you need to know about wrestling at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in the summer of 2021. Plus check out what else is on with our guide to the Olympics on TV today.
When is wrestling at the Olympics?
Wrestling begins on Sunday 1st August with a day of heats before the medal finals between Monday 2nd and Saturday 7th.
Check out our guide on how to watch Olympics 2020 or see Olympics on TV today for more details, timings, and exclusive expert analysis from some of the biggest names in world sport over the coming weeks.
Sir Chris Hoy, Beth Tweddle, Rebecca Adlington, Matthew Pinsent and Dame Jess Ennis-Hill are among the stars we have to being their esteemed opinions, so don’t miss what they have to say.
Find out how you can watch the Tokyo 2020 Olympics closing ceremony.
What type of wrestling is at the Olympics?
There are 18 wrestling medals up for grabs in Tokyo, split between three categories.
Both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling styles involve no equipment and no grabbing clothing as two athletes aim to submit and pin both of their opponent’s shoulders to the floor mat.
The difference between the two styles only comes by which body parts you can use to achieve this simple goal. Freestyle athletes can use any part of their body to pin their opponent, while Greco-Roman wrestlers can only use their upper body and arms to get the job done.
Which Team GB athletes will compete in Olympic wrestling?
Despite sending our largest ever squad to an overseas Olympics this summer, we are not sending any wrestlers as part of our contingent.
Wrestling is one of a small group of sports we haven’t qualified for, with others including basketball, surfing, karate and water polo.
How many countries are in Olympic wrestling?
A whopping 288 competitors will be in action across the disciplines in the Olympic wrestling competition following various qualification events over the last couple of years.
A grand total of 61 nations boast wrestlers who have qualified for the 18 medal competitions at Tokyo 2020.
Russia cannot submit an official team to the Olympics following the systematic doping scandal, though the Russian Olympic Committee is still able to send a number of Russian athletes to the games under their own ROC banner.
They are sending more wrestlers to Tokyo than any other nation this time around with a team of 17 qualifying, each in a different category, meaning the Men’s Greco-Roman 87kg category is the only one they won’t be represented in.
USA are covered in 15 events, while nations as varied as China, Cuba, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Ukraine also boast double figures in terms of wrestlers competing in Tokyo.
How big is the Olympic wrestling mat?
The Olympic tournament will be hosted on a circular mat with a nine-metre diameter, including a one-metre orange strip that wraps around the circumference to round off the ring.
That orange circle is called the passivity zone, and is used to keep the action in the centre of the mat. If wrestlers stray into the passivity zone, the referee will call ‘zone’ and the competitors must return to the centre to resume their clash.
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