History of Wrestling: An Overview Term Paper

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In a reversal, which is worth two points, the prone person comes from underneath and gains control. A near fall is worth 2-3 points and is a 'near pin.' The points awarded for a 'near fall' are based upon how long the 'near pin' lasts. Points are also awarded based upon the opponent's infractions. These may include illegal holds, technical violations (like leaving the mat), grabbing clothing, the mat, or the opponent's headgear, locking or overlapping hands, improper or illegal equipment, "stalling," "unnecessary roughness" and "unsportsmanlike conduct" ("Overview of wrestling rules," West Virginia Wresting, 2010). Scholastic wrestling is scored as a team sport as well as individually.

The issue of women in wrestling has proved to be a controversial issue. On the Olympic level, women competed in wrestling for the first time in 2004. "Women from 21 nations competed in four freestyle weight classes. Medals were awarded to wrestlers from around the world, including athletes from Ukraine, Japan, China, France, Russia, Canada and the United States" (Girl Wrestler, Independent Lens, 2000). Japanese women won the largest percentage of medals: two golds, a silver and a bronze (Dicker 2011). However, "women have actually been wrestling since ancient times. Early inscriptions suggest that Spartan girls wrestled during Roman and Byzantine rule. In African tribes, girls often wrestled as part of their ritual initiation into womanhood. Among the Yala of Nigeria and the Njabi of Congo, men and women wrestled one another. In the Diola tribe of Gambia, adolescent boys and girls wrestled, but not against one another" (Girl Wrestler, Independent Lens, 2000).

In high school, where there is often not enough girls to compete in girls-only leagues, girls may wrestle boys in their same weight classes in all states except Texas and Hawaii, which have banned the practice. In all, 5,000 American wrestle at the high school level, compared to about 250,000 boys. "Texas leads the nation with approximately 1,500 girl wrestlers, although...in 1996, the Texas Wrestling Officials Association voted to disband rather than officiate at matches where girls would wrestle boys. In reaction, the Texas University Interscholastic League has ruled that girls can only wrestle other girls at this level, potentially further limiting the possibilities for girl wrestlers to compete" (Girl Wrestler, Independent Lens, 2000).

In high school, wrestlers compete in weight categories, and it is desirable to wrestle in as low a weight category as possible, to give the wrestler a greater advantage. This has led to many wrestlers taking extreme measures to 'cut weight,' including abusing laxatives, extreme dieting and running in extreme heat to lose water weight. In 1997, the deaths of three college wrestlers from heart and kidney failure due to attempts to 'make weight' caused the National Federation of State High School Associations to recommend "a seven percent minimum body fat limit for male high school wrestlers and a twelve percent body fat limit for female wrestlers" and to mandate weigh-ins "within one or two hours of wrestling matches" ("Cutting weight." Independent Lens, 2000). Despite the Federation's claim that this has extended the careers of wrestlers one or two years because of improved health, wrestling accounts for almost three in four instances of eating disorders among male athletes, and wrestlers still report using unhealthy measures to lose four to five pounds in a week during competition season; twenty percent of wrestlers can lose as much as six to seven pounds in a week ("Cutting weight." Independent Lens, 2000). This is the 'dark' side to this ancient sport that has yet to be eradicated, one which likely could not have been imagined by the sport's original Grecian participants, given that in ancient Greece there were no weight categories, and brute strength was the only determinant of victory.

Works Cited

Dicker, Ron. "Olympic wrestling." Lifewire. [28 Feb 2012]

http://olympics.about.com/lw/Sports-Recreation/Amateur-sports/Olympic-Wrestling-an-Illustrated-History.htm

"Cutting weight." Independent Lens, 2000. [28 Feb 2012

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/girlwrestler/cutting_weight.html

Girl Wrestler. Independent Lens, 2000. [28 Feb 2012] http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/girlwrestler/women.html

Mihoces, Gary. "Ancient text proves wrestling is oldest sport on record." USA Today.

[28 Feb 2012] http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/story/2011-10-18/wrestling-artifact-history/50817198/1

"Overview of wrestling rules." West Virginia Wresting. [28 Feb 2012]

http://www.wvmat.com/overview.htm

"Wrestling." Olympic Sports: London…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Dicker, Ron. "Olympic wrestling." Lifewire. [28 Feb 2012]

http://olympics.about.com/lw/Sports-Recreation/Amateur-sports/Olympic-Wrestling-an-Illustrated-History.htm

"Cutting weight." Independent Lens, 2000. [28 Feb 2012

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/girlwrestler/cutting_weight.html

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