The History of Wrestling

» Posted by on Jul 18, 2019 in General | Comments Off on The History of Wrestling

The History of Wrestling

Wrestling is one of the first sports practised by man. 15000-year-old cave drawings have been found in France, showing men pitting their strength against each other. Carvings and pictures in caves and tombs show combatants in holds still used today. Different forms of wrestling have evolved over the years which have culminated in the way used today at the Olympic Games.

The Samarians

The Samarians practised wrestling which included the use of referees to oversee the rules of the fight. The Epic of Gilgamesh, together with the sculptures and other forms of art mentioned already, discusses wrestling as it was 5000 years ago, which even predates the bible!

The ancient Egyptians

The ancient Egyptians enjoyed the sport and drawings showing hundreds of combatants engaging each other to show their skills and strengths.

The Greeks

Revered the art of wrestling and the famous participants were idolised. The Olympic contestants had to excel at a combination of different sports, discus, the long jump, the javelin and long and short distance running – wherein the wrestling was the main and final event. The winner of the wrestling was the competitor who managed to get his rival down on his back, hips, knees, chest, or elbows. The winner was crowned as the athlete of the games – the only award given! After the games, the combatants who had oiled their naked bodies and were subsequently covered in sand and dirt would bathe in hot water, and they would then have slaves scrape the oil and sweat off with a curved instrument called a strigil.

The Romans

In Roman times, wrestling was the sport of choice at all social levels – from the aristocracy to the soldiers and down to the shepherds in the fields. Unfortunately, in 393, Emperor Theodosius put a stop to any pagan events, which led to the demise of this type of game. Although wrestling continued to be a popular sport, it never reached the popularity of the olden times. Many attempts were made to introduce wrestling again; it wasn’t until Pierre de Coubertin formed the International Olympic Committee in 1896; it was never a national sport.

Professional Wrestling

Professional wrestling, which started in France in 1830, was considered a show and competed with wild animals, fat women, deformed people, and hairy women in travelling shows. The sport then spread around Europe. Fixing of matches and fraudulent results brought the competition into disrepute. Modern wrestling at the turn of the last century wrestling was introduced to the United States of America. When nit was reintroduced to the Olympic games, it gained popularity with public opinion. The World Wrestling Federation (WWF) grew with media such as television, and although this is not wrestling in the pure form, it is a lot more exciting and appreciated by the spectators. It is showmanship at its best and still requires a tremendous amount of skill and athleticism.