Last Updated: 26/07/11 9:36pm
One of the world's oldest sports, wrestling at the Olympics will take on a much different form than WWE fans are used to seeing, but will be nonetheless an exciting spectacle for grappling fans around the world.
The competition at the Olympics is organised in a knockout tournament for each weight division. A decrease in men's categories is what brought about the introduction of women's wrestling, in which there are four weights.
When a wrestler manages a hold, the referee raises an arm which bears the colours of the successful competitor and indicates the points awarded by the number of fingers. Matches consist of three rounds of two minutes with 30-second breaks in between. The winner is the best of three, but it a match can be ended early through a pin, submission or disqualification.
A round can be won on a point advantage or, in the case of a score draw, the wrestler who scored last.
A six-point lead, known as a technical superiority, wins a round, but a five-point throw, or two three-point throws, can also secure a round. Points are awarded on the quality of a hold or throw.
There can be a 30-second period of extra-time in freestyle wrestling if points are level at the end of a round. This starts with a clinch and is decided by the first person to score a point, or the competitor in control of a hold at the end of the round.
A referee controls the fight from the mat, a judge confirms or contests the decisions and a mat chairperson has the deciding role in cases of disagreement.
In Greco-Roman wrestling, during the second minute of each bout, the wrestlers have to start from a passive position at 30-second intervals. If the attacking wrestler fails to score a point, it is awarded to the passive individual.
Wrestling, alongside athletics, is generally recognised as the world's oldest sport and its history can be traced back as far as the ancient Egyptians in 3000 BC.
It was one of the focal points of the ancient Olympics in Greece in around 708 BC and has remained popular in varying forms.
Greco-Roman, which prohibits leg contact, wrestling was an event at the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896 before freestyle was introduced in 1904.
Wrestling became a woman's event when it was introduced at the 2004
Games, a Century after freestyle was first introduced as sport.
Having not been included in the 1900 Olympics, wrestling was also excluded in 1912, but it has been an ever-present event since 1920.
The men's Greco-Roman and freestyle programmes were modified in 2000 and there are now only seven weight categories in each style.
Krazmir Krastanov: The Bulgarian-born 28-year-old moved to Britain in 2006 in order to escape the wrestling politics in the country of his birth. Krastanov, who fights at the 55kg weight division, came close to a bronze medal at the 2009 World Championship, but had to settle for fifth place.
Yana Stadnik: Having initially moved to Britain in 2007, the Ukraine-born 22-year-old provides pedigree at the 48kg weight class. Her father is a wrestling coach and her brother, Andrei, was a silver medallist at the Beijing Olympics and a bronze medallist at the World Championship.
Leon Rattigan: The Bristolian was bronze medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and a genuine hope for a British medal in the 96kg weight category in London. The 21-year-old took up wrestling after his Mum took him to his local club because of his love of watching WWE on television.
Aleksandr Karelin a three-time Olympic gold medallist at the Greco-Roman 130kg, who had not lost in 13 years prior to the 2000 Olympics.
The longest match ever recorded was in Stockholm in 1912, before point scoring was introduced, when Russia's Max Klein and Finland's Alfred Asikainen wrestled for 11 hours.
The 'Russian Bear', 'Aleksandr the Great', or 'The Experiment' also went the last six years of his unbeaten run without conceded a point during the USSR/Russian dominance of the event.
Rulon Gardner: The American won the Greco-Roman gold at 130Kg in 2000, when he stunned the wrestling world with a victory over Karelin.
Rulon also competed in the 2004 Olympics and after winning the bronze left his shoes on the wrestling mat to signify the end of his wrestling career.
Alfred Asikainen and Martin Klein: The Finn and the Russian set a record at the 1912 Olympics when their match lasted almost 12 hours.
A time limit of one hour only applied to qualifying matches and, as a result, the winner, Klein, was so fatigued that he lost his resulting gold medal bout.
Carl Westergren: Essentially the founder of modern Olympic wrestling and won the title for 67.5kg-75kg in 1920, 90kg in 1924 and 100kg.
Matt Hoover: Won the 'Biggest Loser 2', a reality TV shown on American network NBC, in 2005 by losing 157 pounds. Now in training to be involved in the 2012 Games and would represent a fantastic fairytale.
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