Who Killed the Sport of Wrestling?

Too many ridiculous rules for scoring, draws, and judgment calls


Who Killed the Sport of Wrestling?
by manesh

You might've seen or heard of Ara Abrahamian, the Armenian born Swedish wrestler who dropped his bronze medal on the mat to protest judging at Olympics wrestling.  Most people in the media blamed him for poor sportsmanship.  IOC officials took away his medal.  What you may not know is that, without a doubt, Abrahamian lost his chance at gold only because of bad calls. No one disputes that. He had also previously lost the world championship because of bad calls.  Can you see why an athlete may feel it is worthless to train and try in this sport?  

If you watched ANY of the wrestling matches at the Olympics this year, you saw a strange sport that nobody understands, and, more importantly, makes no sense even if you did understand it.  The whole purpose of the meet is to get it over with as quickly as possible.  Many great wrestlers were eliminated for no good reason.  It's a shame. You can see all of the matches at //www.nbcolympics.com/wrestling/resultsandsch... (thank you, NBC).  Most of the matches illustrate my point but, for example, watch this match between Cuba and Venezuela and tell me how did the cuban win this without ever initiating a single move?: //www.nbcolympics.com/video/player.html?asset...

There are too many ridiculous rules for scoring, draws, and judgment calls that it is futile to go into all of them.  In the old days, wrestlers went for 3, 3 minute rounds accumulating the score.  A take-down (khak) was one pint, exposing the back (baar-andaaz) was 2 points, a bridge (pol) was 3 points.  Then there was a pin (zarb-e fanni) which ended the match. Nobody scored outside the mat and if you got away from an opponents grasp, good for you.  You could follow that. More importantly, wrestlers got a fair chance to show who is better.

Now, it is a best of 3, 2 minute  "sets", with referees awarding points for what seems to be arbitrary interpretations of aggression, chase, etc. with very few actual techniques.  If your opponent scores 1 point against you in the 1st two minutes, and you score 6 points against him in the second, guess what? you are tied! congratulations.  You'll go to third "set".  If that's not enough, they draw balls from a bag to see which player starts with the other wrestler's LEG in his grasp! An exciting tied match usually ends in this humorous of all poses with athletes forced to relinquish their LEG into the other wrestler's arms in a set play decided by a ball drawn from a bag!   

If you think these lotteries and arbitrary scores are bad, you don't even know how bad the draws are decided.  For example, ONLY wrestlers who have LOST to one of the finalists for gold/silver get to wrestle for Bronze! Seriousely.  If you're  lucky enough to have lost to the silver medalist, you may get to go for bronze!

Suffice to say NO country should train their young athletes for 4 years to go to such an arbitrary contest which can see their hard work and dreams die in seconds based on no athletic process.  

Wrestling is a major, classic sport in the Olympics in a class with track & field and swimming. However, it is mostly popular with poorer people of poorer countries. So, it is being treated like the bastard child of the Olympics, while rich people's sports like yachting, beach volleyball, synchronized swimming, la cross, etc. flourish.   While an athlete in swimming or track & field can come in FOURTH in 3 separate heats and still qualify for a chance at gold, a wrestler can be out in a split second because of a bad lottery, bad judgment call, or something even worse. And in other sports, you know what you need to do to win: swim or run faster, or jump higher, and you win.  Not in wrestling. 

Let's just not have any wrestling in olympics anymore.  This is embarrassing. 


more from manesh

thanks for the explanation

by Faribors Maleknasri M.D. (not verified) on

best 2 of 3 rounds wins. In fact since wrstling is a very old and of long tradition may be the rules are not understandable in first look. It is mentioned in SHAHNAME that the match has to be repeated three times. so it is today stil so. and it remains so. Dont worry, be happy. Greeting


They keep adding idiotic sports

by Anonymouse555 (not verified) on

to the Olympics too. Beach volleyball for instance. Skiing on grass is a big thing now and god knows what else. I am sure someday they are going to add yeh ghol do ghol.


The sport comes from the East, adapted to the liking of the West

by Realist (not verified) on

Nothing new here. See what they have done to the scoring system of a backgammon game, betting in the middle of the game, etc.

The lovely game of backgammon where skills and luck play hand in hand has become a betting game.


Who Killed the Sport of Wrestling?

by Faribors Maleknasri M.D. (not verified) on

Answer to the Question:
It was His majesty the Latest.
As Iranians paid their chasrity to Worldchampion TAKHTI and not to him or at least to his sister.
so he made him Kill. Greeting


thanks for the explanation

by Naveed (not verified) on

Thanks for the explanation. I'm a wrestler myself and even I couldn't figure out what the heck was going on. I remember one match in this olympics where the Iranian scored a lot of points in the second round, but the other guy won because he won the first and third round (by a very small margin). Then I realized it was because the points don't carry over - best 2 of 3 rounds wins. Seems very stupid to me.


Right, soccer fan

by manesh on

You put the ball in the net in soccer, it's a goal.  No judge is going to step in and "interpret" if you meant a shot at goal, or were you trying to pass, or did the ball just bounce off of you. It's a goal.

Wrestling has become a cross between gymnastics (where you get points based on the judge's "interpretation" what a wrestlet "meant" to do), sumo (where you get points for pushing the opponent out of a circle), and the old wrestling (where you get points for actually executing wrestling techniques). 


this is why i don't like sports that rely so much on judges

by soccer fan (not verified) on

judges are human and they have biases. i was watching the mens diving last night and no matter how good everyone else was diving, it was the Chinese men that were getting all the high scores. Why? because judges are favoring Chinese because historically they have been better divers and they have home advtage with over 15000 people in that arena cheering for them.

Same deal with wrestling. Armenia is not exactly America or Russia so athletes from smaller countries could be subject of biases and misjudgment.

This is why I don't like sports that rely 100% on judges.

In other sports such as Soccer (football), volleyball, running, kayaking, and other similar sports, judges influence is a lot less and bad calls won't be as costly.

just my two cents.

Kaveh Nouraee


by Kaveh Nouraee on

You have a very valid point with respect to the poor judging and scoring. It's becoming more prevalent throughout all athletic competition, at every level.

However, what this guy did was wrong. He has every right to be upset and angry, but whatever credibility he may have had in stating his case dropped to the floor along with that medal. Now, no one woild care even if the judges were being paid off and they showed videotaped evidence of the bribe. All that anyone will remember is this display of bad sportsmanship.