Wrestling Day

Thursday was wrestling day for us. Unfortunately, freestyle wrestling (the traditional US style) takes place next week, so we saw the Greco-Roman competition. We had tickets for the heats up to the semi-finals in the morning, and then the medal rounds in the evening.

It was surprisingly interesting. At first it was a bit difficult to work out the rules and scoring, particularly when neither of the wrestlers could flip each other. We managed to get a little brochure from the info booth that did a decent job explaining it, though. (I’d summarize it here, but doubt anyone is that interested.)

Future Olympics spectators take note: ALWAYS stop by the information booth before the competition! That’s the place where you can get brackets, race times, and brochures to explain the sports. Highly recommended!

The medal rounds were our first of the Olympics and were quite emotional. The ceremonies were immediately after the matches, and well done. Wrestling is a bit odd in that there are two bronze medallists. In the 84kg category ceremony, one of the bronze medallists (from Sweden) took off his medal and threw it to the mat just after he received it. Pretty poor form if you ask me, even for the most hyper-competitive of people. All of the rest went off without a hitch.

We saw the rounds and medal ceremonies for three weight classes: 84, 96, and 120kg. It was fascinating to see the differences in how each wrestled. The 84kg guys were really nimble, and there was a lot of action on the mat. The 120kg guys didn’t move nearly as quickly but were incredibly powerful. It was great to learn to appreciate a new sport.

As I write this, we’re on the train to the city to see gymnastics and beach volleyball. Gymnastics is supposed to be the women’s all-around final with an American girl as the favorite. Needless to say, we’re really excited! (And the rain yesterday cleared the skies… We can see blue sky today!)

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