A day after wrestling’s international body (FILA) voted to amend some of it’s rules in an attempt to stay in the Summer Olympics, the new rules were put to the test. A three-team exhibition, the U.S., Canadian, and Russian squads competed under the new rules, after training for the United 4 Wrestling event under the old ones.
“We just found out about the new rules,” American wrestler Jordan Oliver told the Associated Press. “It’s something we have to adjust to.”
Under the changes, matches now consist of two 3-minute periods rather than three 2-minute periods, and scoring is cumulative instead of the previous best-out-of-three system.
Oliver used a late takedown to win the opening match of the day against Russia’s Magomed Kurbanaliev.
“I was shocked (with the IOC decision) because for a lot of people, myself included, wrestling is a way of life,” Opan Sat, a three-time European champion from Russia, said through an interpreter. “I like the idea of having to periods because I have time to execute my moves.”
Of the new rules, Sat said there was some confusion about how they were being awarded but that he was happy to be a part of the movement to help save the sport’s spot in the Olympics.
Overall, the event featured 13 matches. The United States’ male wrestlers went 3-0 against Canada and finished 2-2 against Russia. The Russian team was 2-0 against Canada. (So basically Canadian men suck at wrestling and didn’t do too good a job serving as the replacement for the Iranian team, which abruptly withdrew from the competition, likely from political pressure from back home.) Among female competitors, the United States and Canada split their four matches.