Wrestling: Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021

Wrestling: Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021

Wrestling has featured in 31 of the 32 Olympic Games. The exception was the 1900 Olympics. However, it returned for the 1904 Olympiad and was a core component of the Games for the next 108 years. One of the sports to be held at the inaugural edition of the modern Olympiad, wrestling, has had a tumultuous time over the last few years. Just eight years ago wrestling was off the agenda for the 2020 Olympic Games. However, the sport made a comeback with a few changes to make it appealing to a global audience. 

One of the changes included the elimination of a safety first approach under the sets system. Here, a wrestler who was in the lead (had won 2 sets out of three) would be defensive, leading to dwindling interest among audiences that craved action. 

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 21: Kyle Frederick Snyder of the United States celebrates after winning gold over Khetag Goziumov (not pictured) of Azerbaijan during the Men's Freestyle 97kg Gold medal match on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 2 on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Three sets of two minutes each made way for two sets of three minutes each, with the winner being the one who accumulated most points across both sets. The new system resulted in wrestlers being kept on their toes even in the last few seconds, as a momentary lapse in concentration could see them eliminated. 

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The most successful wrestler at the Olympics is Japan's Ocho Kaori. The phenomenon claimed 4 medals (4 Gold) in her four appearances at the Games from Athens 2004 to Rio 2016. She was denied a shot at her fifth Olympics appearance as Risiko Kawai earned a berth for Tokyo at her preferred weight class. 

The USA has won the most (133) medals (Gold, 54 Silver, 43 Bronze 36) in Olympic wrestling. However, the Soviet Union with 116 medals (62 Gold, 31 Silver 23, Bronze) sits in the top spot as they have more golds than the USA. 

Wrestling at Tokyo 2020 

Just like the 2016 Olympics, wrestling will feature 18 events, with 6 events in each of men's Freestyle, women's Freestyle, and men's Greco-Roman. A total of 288 wrestlers will take to the mats at the Makuhari Messe. 

Top Wrestlers at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Team USA will see six women take to the mats at the Makuhari Messe. These are Sarah Hildebrandt (50 kg), Jacarra Winchester (53 kg), Helen Mouralis (57 kg), Kayla Miracle (62 kg), Tamyra Mensah-Stock (68 kg), and Adeline Gray (76 kg). 

IOWA CITY, IOWA - APRIL 10: Kyle Dake competes in the 86kg freestyle quarterfinal match against Richard Perry during day 2 of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Wrestling Trials at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on April 10, 2016 in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

In the men's freestyle, Thomas Gilman (57 kg), Kyle Dake (74 kg) David Taylor (86 kg) Kyle Snyder (97 kg), Gable Stevenson (125 kg) will look to impress. 

Meanwhile, in the Greco-Roman events, Ildar Hafizov (60 kg), Alejandro Sancho (67 kg), John Stefanowicz (87 kg), and G'Angelo Hancock (96 kg) will seek glory. 

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20: Abdulrashid Sadulaev of Russia celebrates victory over Selim Yasar of Turkey in the Men's Freestyle 86kg Gold Medal bout on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 2 on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Dominant four-time world champion, Abdulrashid Sadulaev, will look to back up his Gold from Rio. However, this time he will look to prove his worth in a higher weight class. The 25-year-old Russian, who has an astounding record of 131-2 on the mat, will look to leave Tokyo with it reading 135-2. He is expected to have a rubber match against Snyder at 97 kg. 

In the women’s events Rio gold medalist, Risiko Kawai will look for another trip to the top step of the podium before her home fans. She will compete in the 57 kg event 

Competition format

Each event sees 16 wrestlers enter the fray. The competition will begin from a round of 16 in a bracket-based tournament format.

Wrestling is probably the only sport where the loser roots for the victor as the repechage format allows all the finalists' vanquished opponents to compete for the two Bronze medals on offer. A total of 6 wrestlers (3 beaten by each finalist) will return to competition on day two and compete in bouts just before the event final. 

Types of Wrestling

Freestyle and Greco-Roman are the two types of wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021. The former was introduced in 1904, whereas the latter had been part of the Games at Athens 1896. 

In the event of a tie in a freestyle bout, the wrestler who earned the most points through a single move wins. If this is the same, the one with the least cautions gets the victory. Another way to break the tie is to award the win to the competitor who scored the final point. The last step is another technique to keep a wrestler on his/her toes until the final seconds. Freestyle bouts get halted if one wrestler secures a 10-point lead (technical superiority stoppage). 

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 10: Jordan Ernest Burroughs (L) of the United States celebrates his gold medal in the Men's Freestyle 74 kg Wrestling on Day 14 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on August 10, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

The same criteria hold for Greco-Roman. The only difference is that a technical superiority stoppage comes at an 8 point gap. 

As Freestyle bouts have a 30-second system (mandatory scoring for a designated passive wrestler) if the first two minutes do not produce a single point, there is no chance of these bouts ending 0-0. If the passive wrestler does not secure a point, the opponent, who has every reason to be defensive for half a minute, takes the point. 

In Greco-Roman, the referee breaks a scoreless draw by raising the arm of the one he viewed as more active.

Wrestling Schedule for Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021

Wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021 will begin on August 1 and go on until August 7.  

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Event Round of 16Quarter-Final Semi-Final Repechage Final
Men's Freestyle 57 kg (125.6 lbs)August 4August 4August 4August 5August 5
Men's Freestyle 65kg (143.3 lbs)August 6August 6August 6August 7August 7
Men's Freestyle 74kg (163.1 lbs)August 5August 5August 5August 6August 6
Men's Freestyle 86 kg (189.5 lbs)August 4August 4August 4August 5August 5
Men's Freestyle 97 kg (214 lbs)August 6August 6August 6August 7August 7
Men's Freestyle 125 kg (275.5 lbs)August 5August 5August 5August 6August 6
Women's Freestyle 50 kg (130 lbs)August 6August 6August 6August 7August 7
Women's Freestyle 53 kg (116.8 lbs)August 5August 5August 5August 6August 6
Women's Freestyle 57 kg (125.6 lbs)August 4August 4August 4August 5August 5
Women's Freestyle 62 kg (138.8 lbs)August 3August 3August 3August 4August 4
Women's Freestyle 68 kg (149.9 lbs)August 2August 2August 2August 3August 3
Women's Freestyle 76 kg (167.5 lbs)August 1August 1August 1August 2August 2
Men's Greco-Roman 60 kg (132.2 lbs)August 1August 1August 1August 2August 2
Men's Greco-Roman 67 kg (147.71 lbs)August 3August 3August 3August 4August 4
Men's Greco-Roman 77 kg (169.7 lbs)August 2August 2August 2August 3August 3
Men's Greco-Roman 87 kg (191.8 lbs)August 3August 3August 3August 4August 4
Men's Greco-Roman 97 kg (213.8 lbs)August 2August 2August 2August 3August 3
Men's Greco-Roman 130 kg (286.6 lbs)August 1August 1August 1August 2August 2

Venue for Wrestling at Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021

The Freestyle and Greco-Roman Wrestling events will take place at the Makuhari Messe. 

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Venue Makuhari Messe
 Date August 1-August 7
ChannelPeacock TV (US), BBC iPlayer (UK), Eurosport Player (Europe), TSN (Canada), Channel 7 (Australia), Sony LIV (India) 
Players from each country 288
Most medals in the sport USA 133