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Know Your Wrestling Heritage

Posted on March 21, 2012 , by junowebdesign

Okay, so history might not be your favorite subject when you're studying. But if you're a keen wrestler, knowing the history of the sport can be useful - as well as giving you some interesting talking points with your wrestling buds.

The roots of collegiate wrestling can be found in the folk styles of Europe and Great Britain. When the first Europeans settled in America, these styles blended with Native American wrestling to form a popular pastime. Many settlements has local champions, and contests were regularly held.

At first, the style was close to Greco-Roman wrestling, but this soon evolved into a style with more allowance for holds . In the Scot-Irish communities of Virginia and the Carolinas, wrestling was the favorite sport - however, contests tended to be so brutal that laws were passed against overly violent matches. Gouging, plucking, biting, kicking and stomping on your opponent were all outlawed - though these laws were largely ignored!

By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, wrestling was a popular spectator sport. Until boxing became popular in the 1800s, it was the most popular contact sport amongst all classes of men.

Even US presidents were fans of the sport. George Washington wrestled right up until his late forties, and as a youngster in 1830 Abraham Lincoln was the wrestling champion of his county in Illinois. Many more presidents were also wrestlers - something that you might find surprising!

The first intercollegiate meet took place in 1903 between Yale and Columbia University - and these meets continued to grow in popularity.The first NCAA Wrestling Team Championship took place in 1928.

More and more colleges and high schools began to take part, and by the end of the Second World War, collegiate wrestling was becoming a popular sport amongst students. These days, there are many outstanding wrestling programs in colleges - particularly in Oklahoma and Iowa.

So, if you're a wrestler, you're taking part in a sport with a lot of heritage - always something worth remembering.


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