Television channels cash in on wrestling matches with viewership, at times, reaching astronomical figures. The origination of the sport dates back to the dawn of recorded history, as its mention can be found in cave drawings in France that are more than 15,000 years old, and to the ancient texts such as the Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Iliad. From Babylon, Egypt, India, China, and Japan, wrestling is one of the most recognized sports around the world. Its fame and popularity were unprecedented in ancient Greece, where it is widely mentioned in literature and legend. Though brutal at times, the sport was included in the ancient Olympic Games. In the Middles Ages, wrestling enjoyed the patronage of many royal families around the world.
The popularity of the sport has continued in modern times, and it is part of the modern Olympic Games as well. An equally popular tournament is the World Wrestling Championships, which is organized by the United World Wrestling. The tournament comprises of four competitions – Men’s Freestyle, Men’s Greco-Roman, Women’s freestyle, and Combined. The oldest of these is the Men’s Greco-Roman Wrestling tournament which began in 1904.
Among the top 20 nations that have won the most medals from 1904 through 2016, is the former Soviet Union. To date, the Soviet Union, is the most successful nation winning a total of 415 medals – Gold, Silver, and Bronze, from 1922 until its dissolution in 1991. Bulgaria is the second most successful nation winning a total of 249 medals. A part of the former Soviet Union, Russia is the third most successful nation with 244 medals to its credit. The land of Sumo wrestlers, Japan has won 240 medals in all, and has won the most gold medals, 109 to date.
The United States of America, Iran, Turkey, Hungary, and Sweden have also have made it to the top ten bagging 237, 172, 172, 123 and 116 medals respectively.
The 2018 World Wrestling Championship will be held in Budapest, Hungary from October 22 – 28.
The table below elaborates the number of medals won by each of the top twenty nations.
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