A “combat sport” is defined as a sport in which one person competes against another according to different rules. In this article, we will talk about a very special group within this big family: the Olympic Combat Sports. That is, those who are present at the maximum event of world sport.
What are Olympic Combat Sports?
First, we need to understand what is meant by “combat sport”. According to the definition, it is a contact discipline in which two opponents face each other through the use of certain parts of the body, as permitted in that particular sport.
Within the Olympic combat sports we can also find some martial arts. The disciplines authorized by the International Olympic Committee to participate every four years are:
Boxing has always been a popular sport since its inception and is believed to have been practiced as early as ancient Greece. In the year 688 BC, boxing was included in the Olympic Games of antiquity under the name of Pygme or “fist fight”. In fact, boxing is one of the most traditional Olympic combat sports.
It is also one of the sports most present in the editions of the modern Olympic Games, more precisely starting from the second date, St. Louis 1904. It was missing only in Athens in 1896. During the games, medals are awarded to the first four boxers in each category.
Another of the Olympic combat sports with a great history in modern editions, having been present since the first games, at least in the men’s category, as the women’s category was first included in 1924.
Fencing aims to “touch” the opponent with a white weapon, which can be a saber or a sword. Participants are protected with special costumes and masks that “warn” when an opponent’s touch occurs.
Judo is one of the martial arts present at the Olympic Games. It was decided to add this sport to the official program in the 1964 Tokyo edition. Although it “disappeared” in 1968, it returned in 1972 and has remained an Olympic game ever since. In 1992, the women’s category was added and the competition was divided into seven categories based on weight.
4. Greco-Roman wrestling, one of the oldest Olympic combat sports
This sport has its origins in Greece and Italy, and was practiced in the Olympic Games of antiquity. When Pierre de Coubertin decided to organize the modern Games, he indicated that this discipline could not be missing, and was added to the program of the second edition, San Luis 1904. The current Greco-Roman wrestling is divided into seven categories.
5. Olympic free wrestling
This is another of the Olympic combat sports that has very ancient origins, but whose regulation, based on the Greco-Roman wrestling, has been changed. In this discipline, fighters can use any part of the body to fight. The Olympic free wrestling was admitted in the 1904 edition.
Taekwondo is a modern Korean martial art, born in the 1950s and recognized as an Olympic sport in 1988. For the Seoul edition of that year it participated only as an exhibition, but was added to the Sydney 2000 games program. Furthermore, Taekwondo is one of the most practiced martial arts in the world.
The taekwondo match takes place in an 8 × 8 meter ring with no ropes or physical limits like in boxing. There can be from one to three rounds and their duration varies from one to three minutes, depending on the category. It is allowed to strike with the front of the body and with the head.
7. Karate, the newest Olympic combat sport
The last of the Olympic combat sports is also part of the martial arts group. In this case, originally from Japan, his name means “the path of the empty hand” as no weapons of any kind are used.
It is also the most “modern” of Olympic sports, as it has recently been decided, after several attempts, to admit it to the Tokyo 2020 edition, along with baseball or softball, surfing, climbing and skateboarding.
Undoubtedly, Olympic combat sports are the most amazing in each edition of the Games. What is your favorite of those on this list?