20/04/2024
Tokyo 2020 Favorite Kyle Snyder

Tokyo 2020 Favorite Kyle Snyder wrestles in the Pan-Am games (Credit Kyle Snyder twitter)

Wrestling continues to be an Olympic mainstay at Tokyo 2020, with 18 Gold medals up for grabs. For all your Olympic coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.

Tokyo 2020 will see wrestling once again be a key Olympic sport. The Tokyo games will see two disciplines of the event, the traditional Greco-Roman wrestling, and the freestyle. Whilst men can compete in both, women may only compete in the freestyle competition.

One of the oldest sports of all time, wrestling has been a staple of the Olympics since ancient times. The term Greco-Roman comes from the ideas that the sport is similar to that of ancient times. In some ways, this is true, with the addition of women to Olympic wrestling in 2004 has been the most significant change.

While there are two styles of wrestling, both have the same goal. Without grabbing at clothing, the goal is to get your opponent’s shoulders onto the mat. The difference being in Greco-Roman, competitors may only use upper bodies, where freestyle is exactly that, free for competitors to use any part of their bodies.

Tokyo 2020 The Rules

The sport is fought on a circular mat that is 9 meters wide. Competitors are penalized for going outside of this ring. Each bout will last for two periods of three minutes. The competitor must push their opponents’ shoulders onto the matt for one second to win during this period. This is called a ‘fall’ and results in an immediate victory.

If no ‘fall’ occurs, a points decision is made. Judges make the decision based on who scores more points during the bout. In Greco-Roman wrestling, a match can also be won when there is an eight-point difference between the two opponents. In freestyle wrestling, this difference needs to be 10 points.

Points are awarded for the following moves. One point is awarded for moving an opponent out of the circle. Two points are awarded for a takedown or exposing the opponents’ mat to the floor. Four points for throwing an opponent and five points for throwing an opponent with ‘grand amplitude’.

With opponents having so many scoring options as well as winning by ‘fall’, bouts are enthralling into the last seconds where sudden turnarounds are standard.

Wrestling is a sport where a weight and height advantage can have a considerable advantage. For this reason, wrestling contains an immense amount of weight classification.

In the Men’s freestyle, the Olympics will see 57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg and 125 kg.

In the women’s freestyle, we will see the 50kg, 53kg, 57kg, 62kg, 68kg and 76kg.

Finally, the men’s Greco-Roman wrestling will see the 60kg, 67kg, 77kg, 87kg, 97kg and 130kg.

Whilst all events are exciting, it must be said that the bigger weights are amazing to watch. As the saying goes, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Why watch

Wrestling is a must watch at the games and has been for over 100 years now. A sport of brute force and skill, it is also a sport requiring immense discipline and technique. To win a wrestling bout, a competitor must not only fight against their opponent but work with their opponent to gain the upper hand.

Whilst it is not a sport where you will see world records broken, if you are looking for big men and women exerting vast feats of strength, then wrestling is for you.

Excitingly wrestling is a sport that former USSR and eastern European countries dominate. These are countries that do not particularly perform well in other sports. If you are interested in seeing competitors from smaller countries such as Azerbaijan doing well, tune into the wrestling.

Exciting action from a sport few in Australia understand

Australia’s wrestling history

While Australia has never won a Greco-Roman wrestling medal, three medals have come from the freestyle event. However, in a sport dominated by Eastern Europeans, Australians have difficulty qualifying for the event.

In 1932 Eddie Scarf won the bronze medal in the light heavyweight division. He later won gold in the British Empire Games and enlisted in the RAAF during World War 2.

In the London Olympics of 1948, Australia had two medallists in wrestling. Jim Armstrong, who was also a professional Rugby league player, won bronze in the heavyweight class. Dick Gerrard of Geelong won silver in the welterweight division and is Australia’s most successful wrestler of all time. Over a 20-year career wrestling, Gerrard won 3 Commonwealth Games golds. 

Since 1948 Australia has not medalled in wrestling. With a sport somewhat outside of Australian culture and understanding, something drastic would need to change to get Australia competitive in the sport once again.

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Tokyo 2020 Medal Favorites

Kyle Snyder (USA)- Men’s 97kg’s, The American who attended Ohio State University will go in as the favourite for the 97-kilogram division. Having won gold in 2016, Snyder will be looking to go for the double in Tokyo 2020. Being the youngest gold medallist ever in wrestling, Snyder has always been a prodigy. He is also the only man with a triple crown of American wrestling, the World, NCAA, and Olympic golds.

Sara Doshi (JPN)- Women’s 69kgs, having won gold in 2016, Doshi has been on a gold medal roll since. Since 2016, she has won gold in 3 Asian Championships and the World Championships in 2017. At only 26, she is young but has been competing at this level for almost a decade. Therefore, it would take a massive effort by another competitor to defeat Dosho.

Riza Kayaalp (TUR)- Men’s 130kg, Hailing from Turkey, Kayaalp is one of the huge Eastern European men who dominate wrestling. Tokyo 2020 will be his 3rd Olympics, winning bronze in London 2012 and silver in Rio 2016. Since the silver medal win in 2016, Kayaalp has gone onto win two world championship golds. Kayaalp is now the most decorated Turkish wrestler and will go into the Olympics as a favourite.

The Freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling will be taking place from the 1st of August through till the 7th of August. The event will be taking place in the Makuhari Messe. 

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