[Home] History of Wrestling.
Wrestling is a fast growing sport in Australia. Many Australians know more about the modern Professional Wrestlemania, (WWE or "World Wrestling Entertainment") with all its theatre, public adoration, rich remuneration, and publicity stunts. However, the true sport of wrestling is rooted in antiquity, and is quite different and exciting.
Archaeological finds depict wrestling in Egypt and Mesopotamia more than 5,000 years ago. Documentary evidence puts the sport in India and China well before the Christian era. In fact, virtually every society around the globe sports a long tradition of some form of wrestling. And the ancient Greeks were among the most fanatic of fans.
The Greeks depicted wrestling on coins, pottery, and statuary. Most of the colonnade of the palaestra at Olympia still stands today, testimony to the site of the wrestling competition in the ancient Olympic Games. The complex included a roofed area for matches and side rooms for the competitors to wash, bathe, and oil down for their matches. Wrestling also figures prominently in classical Greek legend, myth, and epic.
The rules were simple back then: Throw your opponent to the ground, making him land on his hip, shoulder, or back. Two of three falls takes the match. Don't punch, gouge, or bite. Unlike today's professional wrestling, there were no managers, ring girls, folding-chair attacks, or steel cages. No ridiculous costumes, either - matches were in the nude.
The greatest of the Olympic wrestlers of classical Greece was Milo of Croton, who never lost a match until the end of his career. He was also a general, a civic leader, a very rich man, and a close associate of the philosopher-mathematician, Pythagoras. Fame and wealth followed Milo's success in the arena.
Milo of Croton was born in the sixth century B.C. in southern Italy, won the boys' wrestling Olympic Games in 540 B.C., and went on to victory in five consecutive Olympics. By all accounts, Milo was very big and very, very strong - and apparently knew how to please a crowd. Legend has it that he once carried an ox through spectators at Olympia.
Some modern athletic coaches consider Milo the father of resistance training, the process of lifting heavier and heavier weights to build strength. This stems from another legend: As a youth, Milo carried a newborn ox on his shoulders. As Milo grew, the ox grew; the load got heavier and Milo's muscles became stronger.
The greatest wrestler of the modern Olympics is Alexandr Karelin of Russia. Before his Silver medal win at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Karelin was undefeated throughout his whole career. In 1981 year he started to be engaged in Greco-Roman wrestling in wrestling section of Novosibirsk Electrical Engineering Institute. His constant trainer is Victor Kuznetzov. Alexandr Karelin became an Olympic champion three times: in 1988, 1992 and 1996 years. He won Europe championship 12 times and Russian championship – 13 times.
Article by Nicholas Pingitore, Science Editor www.discoveringarchaeology.com
See also www.karelin.ru/eng