Saturday, 22 Jun 2024

Freestyle Wrestling: The Ultimate Guide

Freestyle Wrestling is an exciting and dynamic combat sport that takes place on an octagonal mat with a circle inside. It is one of the two wrestling variants featured at the Olympic games, alongside Greco-Roman Wrestling. In Freestyle Wrestling, athletes have the freedom to grab opponents below the waist and utilize their legs for both attacking and defensive moves. This sport combines elements from a variety of disciplines, including judo, sambo, and traditional wrestling.

The Object of the Game

The main aim in Freestyle Wrestling is to tackle your opponent and place their shoulders firmly on the mat for a couple of seconds, which is known as a “pin” or “fall.” However, there are also other ways to win a fight, which we’ll explore in more detail below.

Players & Equipment

A Freestyle Wrestling match involves two performers on top of a large mat with eight sides. Inside this octagon is a marked circle, known as the fight circle. During an Olympic match, participants are required to wear specific clothing items, including a singlet made of Lycra or spandex for maximum flexibility and minimal grip for the opponent. They also wear specially designed wrestling shoes with rubber soles for enhanced grip and mobility on the mat. Additionally, wrestlers carry a blood rag, similar to a handkerchief, which they can use to wipe away any blood or sweat that may affect their performance.

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Freestyle Wrestling has a precise points system that rewards complex and difficult moves. Wrestlers are also awarded points for adopting an offensive approach and taking the fight to their opponent. Here are some ways to score points:

  • Takedown (2-5 points): These moves involve at least three points of contact and vary in value depending on execution and style. A high-scoring takedown is one that involves a strong throw from a standing position, lifting an opponent’s legs above their head.
  • Reversal (1 point): This occurs when a wrestler turns a defensive position into an attacking one, outfoxing their opponent.
  • Exposure (2-3 points): A wrestler can score points by putting their opponent on their back for a few seconds. The number of points depends on the effectiveness, execution, and length of the exposure move.
  • Penalty (1-2 points): Wrestlers may be penalized for various infractions, such as fleeing a hold, backing away over the mat, or taking an unnecessary timeout. Persistent offenses can lead to disqualification.
  • Out of Bounds (1 point): If a wrestler places one foot outside the designated fight area, their opponent is awarded an “Out of Bounds” point.


In Olympic Freestyle Wrestling, there are several ways to win a match:

  • By Pin: Most wrestlers aim to win by pinning their opponent. This involves locking their opponent’s shoulders down on the mat with control for one to two seconds. Once a pin is made, the referee checks with the judges, and if they agree, the wrestler who made the pin is declared the victor.
  • By Technical Pin: If a wrestler establishes a ten-point lead over their opponent at any point during the fight, they win by technical pin/technical fall.
  • By Decision: If no pin or technical pin occurs, the judges refer to their scorecards to determine the winner based on the wrestler with the most points accumulated throughout the contest.
  • By Default: If a wrestler is unable to continue the fight due to injury or chooses not to participate, their opponent is awarded the victory by default.
  • By Disqualification: If a wrestler repeatedly breaks the rules or receives three cautions, they are disqualified, and their opponent wins.
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Rules of Freestyle Wrestling

  • Athletes are prohibited from locking in a leg scissor move to the head, neck, or body of their opponent. Scissor moves on the legs or arms, however, are allowed.
  • A wrestler deemed passive will be placed on a thirty-second shot clock. If neither athlete scores any points during this time, the opponent is awarded a point, and the passive wrestler receives a caution.
  • If a wrestler receives three cautions during a fight, they will be disqualified.


  1. Q: How is Freestyle Wrestling different from Greco-Roman Wrestling?
    A: While both are Olympic wrestling styles, Freestyle Wrestling allows grabbing opponents below the waist and using the legs for attacking and defensive moves, while Greco-Roman Wrestling restricts holds to the upper body.

  2. Q: What is the history of Freestyle Wrestling at the Olympics?
    A: Freestyle Wrestling has been featured at every modern Olympics, except for 1896 and 1912. The United States has been the most successful nation in the sport, followed by the Soviet Union and Japan.

  3. Q: Are both men and women allowed to compete in Freestyle Wrestling at the Olympics?
    A: Yes, both men and women compete in Freestyle Wrestling at the Olympic games. There are different weight classes for both genders.


Freestyle Wrestling is a dynamic and thrilling sport contested at the Olympic games. It allows athletes to use a variety of techniques and strategies to tackle opponents and secure victories. With its rich history and diverse scoring system, Freestyle Wrestling offers an intense and engaging experience for both participants and spectators alike. Whether you’re a fan of combat sports or looking to learn more about the Olympic discipline, Freestyle Wrestling promises excitement and athleticism. Visit our website for more information and to stay up-to-date with the latest news and events in the world of Freestyle Wrestling.

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