Big hulking men in Lycra unitards partaking in homoerotic displays of affection? This exciting sport can often be confused with the fantastical displays put on by the likes of Hulk Hogan, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. We’ve pinned down a few facts so you don’t end up with a huge foam finger and giant hot dog at the wrong event:
The basics: There are two types of Olympic wrestling: Greco-Roman, where athletes grapple with just arms and upper bodies, and Freestyle, where they can use pretty much any body part. The broad aim is to your force your opponent’s shoulders back onto the ground.
Athlete to watch: The fearsome Artur Taymazov, born in Ossetia and competing for Uzbekistan, is aiming for a third straight heavyweight gold.
Almost useless fact: The longest Olympic wrestling contest, between Russia’s Martin Klein and Finland’s Alfred Asikainen at the Stockholm 1912 Games, lasted 11 hours. Time limits were introduced a few years later.
Do say:‘It’s at best ignorant and at worst insulting to continually confuse the circus of pro wrestling with this venerable sport.’
Don’t say: ‘The Undertaker could beat all these guys.’
For more info, see timeout.com/olympics.