Everything You Need To Know About Greco-Roman Wrestling

Everything You Need To Know About Greco-Roman Wrestling

Greco-Roman Wrestling is a type of wrestling that is a part of the Olympics and International Amateur Competition. It was first originated in France in the early 19th century as an imitation of the classic Roman and Green representations of this sport. Greco-Roman Wrestling slowly became popular in the Scandinavian countries, and many Finnish and Swedish wrestlers won Olympics medals from 1912 to 1948. Later the Soviet Union and some other countries came to the forefront.

Let’s discuss Greco-Roman Wrestling and its rules in detail.

What Is Greco Roman Wrestling?

Greco Roman Wrestling is an action sport played on a circular mat. The competitors use their upper bodies to perform various moves with an aim to pin down their opponent and score point to win the fight.

People believe that Greco-Roman Wrestling was one of the oldest sports globally. When the Olympics was first launched in 1896, Greco-Roman Wrestling was a featured game and continued to appear in the Olympics in various formats.

Till now, the Soviet Union tops the medal; however, Sweden, Hungary, and Finland are also no behind in the success terms. Aleksandr Karelin from Russia is known to be the greatest of all the Greco-Roman wrestlers. He has won three gold medals and one silver medal. 

The objective of the Game

The main aim of the Greco wrestling game is to defeat the opponent player using various body techniques over three rounds. There are various other ways to win the matches, which we will explain in detail below.

Players & Equipment

Greco-Roman Wrestling is men-only sports at the Olympics and is also performed by various weight levels. Following are the most common equipment used in a typical match:


A singlet is basically a wrestler uniform for the fight. The garments are tight and lightweight to assist flexibility and made of lycra material. 

Wrestling Shoes

Given that a Greco wrestling match takes place on a mat, athletes have to wear special shoes to offer good grip, balance, and flexibility.

Blood Rag

Leading in between the combat matches is not uncommon; the same holds true for Greco-Roman Wrestling. The wrestlers truck a blood rag in their singlet to use it to stem the blood flow. 


Wearing a helmet is completely optional. Some athletes may require to wear a helmet due to their physical condition, while others may choose not to. 

Fight Mat

All the roman wrestling contest takes place on round fight mat. These are made of thick rubber material and have carious zones marked to indicate “Passivity area,” “Out of bonds.” In case the wrestler spends more time in the passivity area, it means they are on defensive mode and not taking the fight with their opponent. 

Scoring Rules

Greco-Roman Wrestling has quite complicated scoring rules. There are various specific scoring criteria that involve different points attributing different moves.  

Takedown (2 – 5 points)

Takedown happens when one of the wrestlers involve pins the opponent to the ground. The common scoring points for a takedown are between two and five, depending on the effectiveness of the moves and control. 

For instance, if the wrestler is able to lift the opponent above the mat in an effective manner sending his legs right above the head, he will gain straight 5 points. A takedown in a simple manner will score 2 points.

Reversal (1 point)

When the wrestlers are in a defensive position on the mat, they can overcome this by gaining an attack advantage, and they will be rewarded reversal points. 

Exposure (2-3 points)

Exposure makes 2-3 points for the wrestler. This happens when the wrestler exposes the opponent’s back for several seconds on the mat. The efficiency and effectiveness of the technicality decide the exact number of scoring points.  

Penalty (1-2 points)

If a wrestler hits time out without forced bleeding, the opponent player will be rewarded a Penalty point. These points are awarded to the opponent wrestler only when the wrestler breaks the rule by using illegal moves like grabbing below the waist or striking. On some occasions, the referee will also throw caution to a wrestler and disqualify the wrestler completely to repeat the offense.

Out of Bounds (1 point)

If the wrestler places one foot out of the flight area, the opponent wrestler will be given an Out of Bounds point.


Like various other fighting sports, there are various ways to win a Greco-Roman Wrestling competition. This includes technical pin/fall, default, judge’s decision, by disqualification.

By Pin/Fall

Wrestlers mostly try to win the match by attempting pin/fall. This is done by grabbing the opponent shoulder’s firmly and docking them on the mat for 1-2 seconds. The judge and referee will determine if the fall/pin is valid or not. If the fall is achieved, the match will be over, and the wrestler who makes the successful pins will be the winner.

By Technical Pin/Fall

If one of the wrestlers is leading by 8 points during the match, he will automatically be crowned as a victor by “Technical Pin/Fall.

By Judges’ Decision

If none of the wrestlers is able to win the match by pin during all three rounds, the judges will decide the winner wrestler based on their score points. The wrestler with the highest scores will win the match. If the scorecards have the same points, the wrestler with fewer penalties will be the winner of thewrestling competition. 

By Default

On various occasions, a wrestler might not be able to perform because of injury; in this case, the opponent player will win the match.

By Disqualification

If the wrestler continues to break the rules repetitively, the referee may disqualify that player, and the opponent wrestler will be the winner automatically.

Greco-Roman Wrestling Rules

There are some particular rules in Greco-roman wrestling that sets it apart from other types of wrestling sports like freestyle wrestling

  • It is forbidden to hole below the waist. This includes holding thighs, legs, or knees.
  • Kicks, leg trips, and knee strikes are not permitted.
  • Each round will be divided into three segments. One 60 second segment at a neutral position, two 30 second segments for a ground fight. 
  • The wrestler scoring the most points in 60 seconds segment will have an on-top advantage for ground combat.  
  • If the wrestler fails to score points, teh opponent in the bottom position will score points for being a good defense. The wrestler then will have to switch positions, allowing both of them an equal chance to make points.
  • If none of the wrestlers score points in the first neutral segment position, the officials will then flip a coin to determine who will initiate the ground combat sequence on top.
  • The players’ main aim is to gain as many points possible during each segment as this allows the wrestler a possible chance to claim victory in case the pin/fall is not attained. 




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