Freestyle Wrestling

Freestyle Wrestling
Freestyle wrestler (right) lifts his opponent to finish a double-leg takedown.

Freestyle is one of two styles of wrestling practiced in Olympic and international amateur competition. In freestyle wrestling, under international rules nearly any fair hold, trip or throw is permitted.  Wrestlers are encouraged to maintain the offensive, and can be penalized for failing to do so (passivity).  High-amplitude throws are encouraged, and an additional point is awarded for takedowns where one wrestler is taken from his feet directly to his back.  Wrestlers are cautioned for irregularities, and three cautions mean disqualification. The bout is supervised by a referee on the mat, a mat chairman, a judge and a timekeeper. A fall is awarded when one contestant holds both of his opponent's shoulders to the mat for a length of time determined by the competitors' age group. Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling (the other international amateur style) are great complements, one reinforcing the other.  In the United States, freestyle is the more popular of the two, due to its similarity to folkstyle, because attacks below the waist are permitted. Freestyle wrestling appeared in the 1904 Olympic games. The first World Championship took place in Helsinki in 1951.

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