No one is quite sure where wrestling originated. What we do know, however, is that it’s been around for approximately 7,000 years. This is because of Sumerian cave drawings that were found in Mesopotamia that date back to that time. But, believe it or not, it was the Ancient Egyptians that refined the activity of a wrestling into a science. In fact, there are tombs located around the village of Beni Hasan, dating back to 2500 BC, that have hundreds of how-to drawings on wrestling.
Since then, the sport has evolved quite a bit and today there are a huge variety of wrestling styles that are found in different countries all over the world.
Important Moments in the History of Wrestling
Wrestling gained popularity in Ancient Greece, where it was used as a form of exercise and also as a means to train soldiers. In fact, along with grammar and mathematics, young boys in Greece were also formally educated in the sport and art of wrestling. Among the sport’s noted practitioners was Plato, who utilized both his brains and brawn to defeat his opponents.
The Ancient Greeks are the ones that began the wrestling that we know of today and they added it as one of the first competitive sports in the Olympics back in 708 BC. It was also the last event that participants engaged in because it was considered to be the ultimate challenge.
Back then, the sport resembled what is now known as freestyle wrestling; except the competitors were naked, coated in grappling, until one succeeded in defeating the opponent. Wrestling was also popular among the Greek gods. In fact, one story recounts how Zeus wrestled Cronus for the possession of the universe. Wrestling was also quite popular with the Ancient Romans, but the style that they practiced was less brutal than the Greeks.
During the Middle Ages, the sport gained so much popularity that even the royalty got their hands dirty. In fact, there’s a story where Henry VIII, a huge fan, challenged the King Francis I of France to a wrestling match in 1520. Not only did Henry get thrashed when Francis scored a takedown, but Francis also gained cross-channel bragging rights for years to come. In addition, when European settlers came to America, they found that the sport was already quite popular with the Native Americans.
Wrestling in the Modern Olympics
Freestyle wrestling increased in popularity throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, both as a competitive sport and as entertainment. But, when Pierre de Coubertin resurrected the Olympic Games in 1896, after a 1500 year hiatus, officials tried to connect to the past. In other words, they used the Greco-Roman wrestling as the preferred style. It wasn’t until the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis that the freestyle form of wrestling, which was a faster paced variation that allows holds below the waist, was introduced.
Wrestling in the Modern Day and into the Future
Nowadays, the most popular amateur wrestling styles are freestyle, Greco-Roman, judo, and sombo. In addition, wrestling has become the national sport of Iran, Turkey, and Mongolia. These countries, along with the US and Russia, produce the best wrestlers of modern times.
Along with modern day wrestling comes the desire to be the biggest and baddest guy in the ring so wrestlers are sometimes going to the extreme to increase there testosterone levels with health supplements like Pro Testosterone, Testosterone Booster Elite Series and other products to help get them up to par with their strength, stamina and power.
Television coverage and the internet has allowed wrestling to reach more individuals than every before. These mediums brings the pure and unique competitive elements of wrestling to athletes and spectators all around the world.
As the popularity of wrestling continues to grow, the techniques, rules, and athletes, are growing right along with it. The sport is changing rapidly to accommodate obstacles and assets, therefore you must truly be a student of the sport to stay on top of the constant changes.