SMG 303 History of Sports
Santa Clara College
Human beings thrive on challenges they create in order to measure themselves in competition with other humans. Humans can’t merely go through life without having to create physical contests known as sports to add meaning and interest to their lives. Sports have been around since mankind was created. Humans have always competed against each other to see who is better. Competitive games first began with humans competing to gain approval from gods during religious rituals (Baker, 1989). People have had to protect themselves and their valuables when the hunters became farmers with hand-to-hand combat. Wrestling was one of the techniques these hunters used to survive. This is one of the reasons why wrestling can arguably be the oldest sport in the world. Drawings of the sport indicate that wrestling has been around more than 7,000 years. There have also been archeological findings in the tombs of Beni-Hassan in Ancient Egypt that had traces of wrestling, which were dated back to 2,500 B.C. (Dicker, n.d.). Wrestling was and still is a popular sport around the world. There are different forms or wrestling that are practiced, but regardless of what type of wrestling it is some style of wrestling is on every continent and approximately every country. The three forms of wrestling practiced today are Greco-Roman, Freestyle, and Folkstyle. Folkstyle was started in America after settlers moved in to form the thirteen colonies. The purpose of this report is to describe how wrestling got started and how America transitioned from the traditional Greco-Roman to Folkstyle Wrestling.
The sport of wrestling is known to be the first sport ever practiced. Even before the first recorded Greek Olympic games in 776 B.C. wrestling was around. There are traces of wrestling in Sumerian cave drawings that pre date the Olympic games. If you look at Greek mythology, wrestling took place all the way back to their two greatest Gods Cronus and Zeus wrestling for dominance in Olympia. There is also proof of carvings, tomb drawings, and artwork that have been found all around the world that took place over 17,000 years ago. Much of these artworks and drawings show two male athletes grappling each other naked and surrounded by spectators. In Ancient Greek wrestling became a popular sport and the first schools of wrestling, called Palaestras, were recorded. This inspired fierce competition in the Greek festivals especially the Olympics. The first actual Olympic games are unknown but the standard year is 776 B.C. after the first victor of a foot race was recorded. Wrestling was considered one of three brutal contests with little rules; the main one being no weight classes. The best wrestler would most likely be the biggest and strongest man. Wrestling matches were won when a wrestler brings his opponent to his knees three times. There is record of a wrestler named Milo of Croton, who was considered to be the most famous wrestler in ancient Greek. He won six senior Olympiads and other Panhellenic festivals. Milo of Croton's rain as champion finally came to an end when he had a match with a much younger wrestler. Milo was forced to withdraw from the match due to his opponent avoiding him until Milo became to exhausted to continue. Although he lost his final wrestling match, he pride him self in never being brought to his knee (Baker, 1989). The wrestling sport back then greatly resembled our modern Greco-Roman wrestling with only upper body locks. It wasn’t until the Roman Empire took over Greece that the modern form of Greco-Roman wrestling was invented. When the Roman Empire took control of Greece they were able to take a lot of their traditions including their sports. The Romans took over their style of wrestling and mixed in their own rules and styles; which is