Monday, 17 Jun 2024

Greco-Roman Wrestling Rules

Greco-Roman Wrestling is a captivating combat sport performed on a circular mat. Participants rely solely on their upper bodies to execute a diverse range of moves, aiming to pin their opponent or score points for victory.

Did you know that Greco-Roman Wrestling is believed to be the oldest sport on Earth? Ancient cave drawings dating back to 3000 BC depict evidence of early competitions. Since the modern Olympics began in 1896, Greco-Roman Wrestling has been a significant part of the games, except for a brief absence in 1900.

Throughout Olympic history, the Soviet Union has dominated Greco-Roman Wrestling, but countries like Finland, Sweden, and Hungary have also experienced considerable success. In the most recent Summer Olympics, Cuba clinched two gold medals and a silver, while Russia, Armenia, and Serbia also earned multiple medals in the 2016 tournament.

Considered by many as the greatest Greco-Roman wrestler of all time, Aleksandr Karelin from Russia achieved remarkable success, winning gold medals in 1988, 1992, and 1996, along with a silver in 2000.

Object of the Game

The objective of Greco-Roman Wrestling is to defeat the opponent over three rounds, each lasting two minutes. Wrestlers employ various upper-body techniques to secure victory. To explore the different ways of winning, check out the “Winning” section below.

Players & Equipment

Greco-Roman Wrestling is exclusively contested by males at the Olympics and features different weight classes. The equipment used during a typical fight includes:


A singlet is the term used for a Greco-Roman wrestler’s uniform. These garments are designed to be light and tight to enhance flexibility, often made of materials like Lycra.

Wrestling Shoes

The contest takes place on a mat, requiring wrestlers to wear specialized shoes that offer excellent grip, flexibility, and balance on the spongy surface.

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Blood Rag

Bleeding is not uncommon during Greco-Roman Wrestling matches. When necessary, fighters can use a “Blood Rag” tucked inside their singlet to stem the flow of blood.


Helmets are optional in Greco-Roman Wrestling. Some wrestlers may choose to wear them due to personal preference or physical condition.

Fight Mat

All matches occur on a circular fight mat made of thick rubber material. The mat is marked with designated areas, indicating the “Out of Bounds” and “Passivity” zones. Spending too much time in the Passivity area suggests a defensive approach, reflecting a wrestler not actively engaging with their opponent.


Greco-Roman Wrestling follows a specific scoring criteria, assigning different point values to various moves.

Takedown (2 – 5 points)

A “takedown” occurs when a wrestler forcefully brings their opponent to the ground from a standing position. Depending on the technicality, cleanliness, and control of the takedown, it can score between 2 and 5 points. Lifting an opponent high off the mat, with their legs above their head, often results in a 5-point score. Meanwhile, a less controlled takedown from the side or stomach typically earns 2 points.

Reversal (1 point)

If a wrestler in a defensive position on the mat overcomes it and gains an attacking advantage, they are awarded a point for a “reversal.”

Exposure (2-3 points)

Wrestlers can earn 2 to 3 points for “exposure” when they successfully expose their opponent’s back to the mat for several seconds. The number of points scored depends on the technical execution of the move.

Penalty (1-2 points)

If a wrestler takes an unforced timeout or breaks the rules, such as using illegal moves like striking or grabbing below the waist, their opponent is awarded Penalty points. In certain cases, repeated offenses may lead to cautions or disqualification by the referee.

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Out of Bounds (1 point)

Stepping one foot outside the designated fight area results in the opponent being awarded an “Out of Bounds” point.


As with many other combat sports, there are several ways to secure victory in Greco-Roman Wrestling. These include:

By Pin/Fall

Most wrestlers aim to win by pinning (falling) their opponent’s shoulders firmly onto the mat for 1-2 seconds. The validity of the pin/fall is determined by the referee and judges. Achieving a fall concludes the match, with the wrestler executing the successful pinfall emerging as the winner.

By Technical Pin/Fall

If a wrestler attains an eight-point lead at any point during the match, they are declared the victor by “Technical Pin/Fall.”

By Judges’ Decision

If neither wrestler secures a pin/fall during the three rounds, the judges review their scorecards to determine the highest scorer. The wrestler with the most points is awarded the win. In the event of a tie, the wrestler with fewer penalties and higher-scoring moves claims victory.

By Default

In cases where a wrestler is unable to compete due to injury, their opponent receives a default win.

By Disqualification

Repeatedly breaking the rules may lead to the disqualification of a wrestler, resulting in their opponent being declared the winner.

Rules of Greco-Roman Wrestling

Greco-Roman Wrestling adheres to specific rules that differentiate it from other wrestling styles.

  • Holds below the waist, such as grabbing an opponent’s knees, thighs, or legs, are forbidden.
  • Leg trips, kicks, and knee strikes are also prohibited.
  • Each round consists of three segments: one 60-second segment for neutral position combat (standing) and two 30-second sequences for ground combat (on the mat).
  • The wrestler with the most points during the 60-second neutral position segment gains the advantageous on-top position for the ground combat period. If the wrestler on top fails to score any points, their opponent on the bottom earns a point for good defense. Both wrestlers switch positions to allow each athlete the opportunity to earn points while on top.
  • If neither wrestler scores any points during the first neutral position segment, a coin toss determines who starts the ground combat sequence on top.
  • The aim is to accumulate as many points as possible in each segment to maximize the chance of winning on points if a fall is not achieved.
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Q: How old is Greco-Roman Wrestling?

Greco-Roman Wrestling is believed to be the oldest sport on Earth, with evidence of competitions dating back to 3000 BC.

Q: What are the key scoring criteria in Greco-Roman Wrestling?

The scoring criteria include takedowns, reversals, exposure, penalties, and moves resulting in an opponent stepping out of bounds.

Q: How is victory determined in Greco-Roman Wrestling?

Victory can be achieved through pins (falls), technical pins, judges’ decision based on points, defaults (due to injury), or disqualifications.

Q: Are there any forbidden moves in Greco-Roman Wrestling?

Yes, holds below the waist, leg trips, kicks, and knee strikes are prohibited in Greco-Roman Wrestling.


Greco-Roman Wrestling is an ancient and fascinating combat sport. With its unique rules and scoring system, it continues to captivate athletes and spectators alike. From takedowns and reversals to pins and falls, the sport offers multiple paths to victory. Whether you’re a fan or aspiring wrestler, exploring the world of Greco-Roman Wrestling promises an exhilarating journey.

To learn more about Greco-Roman Wrestling and stay updated on the latest news and events, visit the official website of Auralpressure at