Freestyle wrestling is a sport that consists in single combat of two sportsmen under certain rules; with the use of various techniques (captures, throws, coups, footboards, etc.), in which each of the rivals tries to put another on the shoulder blades and win. In free-style wrestling, it is allowed to grab the opponent's legs, footboard and active use of the legs when performing any reception.
From historical sources it is known that in the XVIII century in England there was a struggle in which wrestlers were allowed to grasp the legs and tricks with the actions of the feet.
On the international sports arena, a free-style wrestling appeared later than the Greco-Roman (French) struggle. Homeland wrestling is considered England. Then she appeared in the USA. The fight was called "catch-as-catch-can" (Catch wrestling).
In the US, free-style wrestling began to develop in two directions: the actual struggle and struggle is professional. Sports freestyle wrestling, was cultivated mainly in colleges and universities of the USA (in Russia it was called "free-amateur amateur wrestling"). The rules of international free-style wrestling are similar to this kind of struggle.
In 1904, the free-style wrestling was first included in the program of the Summer Olympic Games in St. Louis (USA). All 42 athletes were from the USA. This was due to the fact that the US using its right of hosts, included the fight ketch (student, amateur version). The Olympic Committee agreed and called the fight free style (Free style). But, Europeans were not familiar with this kind of struggle and therefore none of them dared take part. Therefore, the Olympic tournament in free-style wrestling was in jeopardy and then the Americans timed their country's championship to the Olympics and organized it as an Olympic competition.
At the next Extraordinary Olympic Games in 1906, the Greeks preferred the Greco-Roman wrestling (classical) wrestling, removing from the program a free one, as it was unfamiliar to them. In the future, the free-style wrestling constantly (except for the games of 1912 in Stockholm) was part of the program of the Summer Olympic Games.
In total, from 1904 to 1996, the Americans won 99 Olympic medals at the Olympic Games - more than any other country at that time. And in 1904 a "record" was set, which will never be beaten, since the wrestlers were only from the United States - Olympic medals of all merit went to them only.
In 1912, before the start of the Summer Olympic Games in Stockholm, the International Union of Fighters (Internationaler Ring Verband) was created for the first time. Officially, the first congress (not counting the meeting in Sweden) was held in June 1913 in Berlin. Delegates from the following countries attended: the German Empire, the Grand Duchy of Finland, Denmark, Sweden, the Russian Empire, Hungary, Austria, Bohemia (Czech Republic), Great Britain.
In the period from 1904 to 1912, the number of athletes declared in one weight category from one country was not limited. From 1920 to 1924 in one weight category was allowed to claim no more than two athletes from one country.
In 1920, during the Summer Olympic Games in Antwerp, the International Olympic Committee recommended the creation of an independent federation for each sport. And the following year, the International Amateur Wrestling Federation (IAWF) was formed at the IOC Olympic Congress in Lausanne.
In 1928, the first European championship was held in Paris. And since 1928, in the weight category, only one participant can represent the country. The Olympic tournament is held on a system with elimination.
In 1951, the International Federation for Combined Combative Styles was created (FILA, FILA). Since the same year, she has been holding the FILA Wrestling World Championships.
By the 1980s, women's freestyle wrestling won recognition in the world and, as a result, in 2004 it was included in the program of the Summer Olympic Games, becoming the third women's Olympic single combat (after judo and taekwondo). The debut of the new female sport took place at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Currently, the leading countries in freestyle wrestling are: Russia, the United States, Iran, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan.