Wrestling - Athens 1896

Wrestling at the 1896 Winter Olympics in Athens

Competitions in wrestling at the Athens Olympics in 1896 consisted only of a single event. It was carried out with no weight limit and under rules to be roughly equivalent to today's Greco-Roman wrestling. The competition took place outdoors on a sand surface at the Olympic Stadium. There was no time limit, and a battle was only won when the opponent had both shoulders pressed against the ground.

In the final German Carl Schuhmann met the Greek Georgios Tsitas. After 40 minutes of wrestling it became quite dark, and it was decided to postpone the decision until the next morning. Schuhmann protested as he thought he was close to victory, but the exposure was maintained. The next morning at 9 the match was resumed, and after about fifteen minutes of wrestling Schuhmann finally was hailed as Olympic champion.

The wrestling competition was attended by five athletes from four countries. After Schuhmann and Tsitas followed the Greek Stephanos Christopoulos as number three in the competition.

In addition to his victory in wrestling Carl Schuhmann also achieved three first places in gymnastics and he was fourth in the shot put.

Wrestling is one of the sports that have been on the program at every Olympic Games since 1896, but the number of weight classes and weight limits have varied greatly over the years. In St. Louis in 1904 there was only events in freestyle wrestling, but from 1908 there has always been competitions for men in both freestyle and Greco-Roman style. In 2004 events in freestyle wrestling for women entered the program.

This story about Wrestling at the 1896 Winter Olympics in Athens is based on the official Olympic reports and the Olympian Database
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