The First Ever Wrestling Olympic Champion


April 6th, 1896 would mark the day that the Olympic games would make its return after a 1,503 year hiatus with the last recorded games being held in 393 AD.

Wrestling at the Olympic games would be quite a bit different than it is now, only Greco-Roman wrestling would be part of the events as freestyle wrestling would be added in 1904.

There would only be one champion in the Greco-Roman division as weight classes were not implemented resulting in an open weight class.

At the inaugural Athens Olympics there would only be 5 wrestlers in the field, and they would represent 4 different countries.


Carl Schuhmann (Germany)

Georgios Tsitas (Greece)

Stephanos Christopoulos (Greece)

Launceston Eliiot (Great Britain)

Momocsillo Tapavicza (Hungary)

Gold Medal Match-

Carl Schuhmann of Germany would pin Georgios Tsitas of Greece to become the first wrestling Olympic champion of the modern era.

What is fascinating about this is not Schuhmann becoming the first champ, it is how he did it. Their gold medal match actually ended up lasting two days due to the match lasting too long and it getting dark outside.

After they resumed the bout on day two Schuhmann would capitalize and secure an early fall to win gold.

Carl Schuhmann At The 1986 Olympics-

PC: Albert Meyer (Carl Schuhmann 1896 Olympics)

If you thought Schuhmann winning gold in wrestling was impressive then you would be shocked to find out that he actually won 3 more gold medals at the same Olympic games.

Schuhmann along with the German gymnastics team would win gold in the horizontal/parallel bar events to secure his 2nd and 3rd gold medals.

He would add the 4th gold medal to his winning after he won the horse vault event.

His run doesn’t just end there, Schuhmann competed in a plethora of other events at the 1896 games. He did not end up medalling in the events and his placements are relatively unknown.

The other events he competed in include weightlifting, long jump, triple jump, shot put, pummel horse, rings, and other gymnastics related competitions.

After the conclusion of the 1986 Olympic games Schuhmann was named the most successful athlete of the games.

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Akil Murugan
Akil Murugan
Senior Editor for Heavyweight Nation

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