The origins of Greco-Roman wrestling should not be sought in ancient times, since the style practised by the Greeks and the Romans was actually similar to freestyle wrestling. This style has its origins in the 19th century and was created by a Napoleon soldier named Exbroyat. He performed in Lyon fairs what he called “flat hand wrestling” to differentiate it from other combat sports where hitting his opponent was allowed. In 1848, he established as a rule, not to execute holds underneath the waist, and forbid holds and painful torsions that could hurt the adversary. “Flat hand wrestling”, also called “French wrestling” developed all throughout Europe and became the most important sport of the 19th century. The person who created the expression “Greco-Roman” was the Italian wrestler Basilio Bartoli, who wanted to underline the interest for Ancient values.
Wrestling was introduced to the programme of the ancient Olympic Games in 708 BC. Greco-Roman wrestling was then the first style registered in the Modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896 and this form of professional entertainment became a first class amateur sport during the 20th century. Wrestling was never absent from the Olympic programme, except during the Games in Paris in 1900.
At present, Greco-roman wrestling counts seven weight categories:
55 kg, 60 kg, 66 kg, 74 kg, 84 kg, 96kg and 120 kg
According to the ranking of the last World Cup of Greco-Roman wrestling, the leading countries in this style are: Iran, Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Cuba, Korea, and Bulgaria.
Licence and insurance: The FILA licence is mandatory for all international Greco-Roman competitions with more than two participating countries. Every international competition shall be anounced to FILA and added to its official calendar. The FILA insurance will only apply to competitions which appear in its calendar. The FILA licence allows its holder to take part in all wrestling styles ruled by FILA.