Freestyle wrestling is a combat sport which confronts two male competitors who try to gain control over their opponent through the use of throws, locks, leg trips, and clinching techniques. Contrary to Greco-Roman which only allows the use of the upper body, all Freestyle holds can involve the legs in order to ultimately pin the the opponent's shoulders to the mat. If a wrestler manages to do so, victory by "fall" is proclaimed, otherwise, the match pursues until the end of the regular time and the winner is decided according to the technical points scored.
Freestyle wrestling developed in Great-Britain and in the United States under the name of catch-as-catch-can and became the favourite attraction in fairs and popular celebrations during the 19th century. The goal of this discipline was to bring the adversary’s shoulder to the ground and almost all holds were allowed. Wrestling in the United States was an extremely popular sport, and about half a dozen American presidents practised it: George Washington, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses Grant, Andrew Johnson, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, etc. Freestyle wrestling was introduced for the first time in the Saint Louis Olympic Games in 1904. All 42 wrestlers who participated were of American nationality. Competition rules were similar to those of catch-as-catch-can, with some restrictions concerning dangerous holds. The division of weight categories (47,6 kg, 52,2 kg, 56,7 kg, 61,2 kg, 65,3 kg, 71,7 kg et + 71,7kg) was an important innovation since wrestling competitions took place in a unique category. Except from the Stockholm Olympics in 1912, Freestyle has been part of the programme of all modern Olymic Games since its introdcution in 1904.
At present, free style wrestling counts seven weight categories:
According to the ranking of the last World Cup of freestyle wrestling, the leading countries in this style are: Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Cuba, Ukraine, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, and Bulgaria.
Licence and insurance: The FILA licence is mandatory for all international Freestyle 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.