Olympic wrestling tournaments have been contested since the ancient Olympic Games. Because of wrestling's strong Olympic history, the sport is sometimes considered one of the most significant of the Olympic Games.
Despite that strong history, wrestling is not commonly shown on TV between Olympic years, and some of the jargon used can be confusing at times. The guide below can help those watching wrestling for the first time to better understand lingo and terminology used during the tournament.
Olympic Wrestling Terms
Ankle lace: An ankle lace occurs when a wrestler criss-crosses his arms through his opponent's legs, making it difficult for the opponent to escape. Ankle laces usually result in back points for the dominant wrestler.
Ball draw: Ball draw is the term used to refer to the tie-breaker process. If the score is tied at the end of a period, one wrestler will pull a ball out of a bag. The ball drawn, which which is either blue or red, indicates which wrestler will take the offensive position and which wrestler will take the defensive position during the tie-breaker round.
Clinch: The beginning of a tie-breaker round starts with a clinch. In the clinch position, the wrestler who lost the ball draw must let his opponent grab onto his leg. The round set up in a 30-second, sudden-victory format. The wrestler who grabs onto his opponent's leg must score a point to win. The wrestler with his leg exposed wins if he prevents his opponent from scoring or if he scores a point himself.
Fall: Also known as a pin, a fall occurs when a wrestler holds his opponent's shoulders to the mat.
FILA: FILA stands for Fédération International des Luttes Associées, or the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles. The federation is the international governing body for wrestling, which means the group sanctions international Olympic-style events and enforces rules and regulations.
Gut wrench: A gut wrench occurs when a wrestler rolls his or her opponent across his own body.
Par terre: In the par terre position, one wrestler begins on the mat on his hands and knees while the other wrestler begins with his hands on his opponent's back.
Push out: If a wrestler pushes his opponent outside of the wrestling ring, he receives a point for a push out.
Repechage: If a wrestler loses to an opponent who eventually reaches the final, the loser is entered into the repechage round. Wrestlers in the repechage round have the opportunity to wrestle back for a bronze medal.
Tech fall: A wrestler can win a period by a tech fall if he or she scores six more points than his or her opponent in a period. Wrestlers must win two of three periods to win a match.
Sandra Johnson is a longtime Olympic fan. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46