Host City: Athina, Greece
Date Started: April 25, 1906
Date Finished: April 28, 1906
Participants: 36 (36 men and 0 women) from 11 countries
Youngest Participant: Marcel Dubois (19 years, 243 days)
Oldest Participant: Henri Baur (33 years, 163 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 3 athletes with 2 medals
Most Medals (Country): Denmark and Austria (4 medals)
Probably less has been written in English about the wrestling competition of the 1906 Olympic Games than any other sport. It is barely mentioned in the newspaper reports. But in the Greek press it was highly covered, as Mathys has noted, "Great interest was shown too in the Greco-Roman freestyle wrestling, not only by the mainly Greek public, but also by the contestants. The contests continued long after the light had begun to fade; neither the wrestlers, the judges nor the public wanted to see the matches stop. Only when a few lit matches to enable the spectators to see did the judge decide to postpone the finals till the next day."
It was conducted under Greco-Roman rules. The competitions were held on the infield of the track in the Panathenaic Stadium. There were three main competitions conducted according to weight class: lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. At the end of the competition, the winners of the heavyweight and middleweight competitions, Søren Marinus Jensen and Verner Weckman, wrestled a match, won by Jensen, for the all-around title of the top wrestler at the 1906 Olympics.
It was difficult to choose favorites at this wrestling tournament, basically the first true international Olympic meet. World championships had only been conducted since 1904, with two different versions held in 1905. Sóren Marinus Jensen and Verner Weckman had won both the heavyweight titles in 1905, at the two different meets. The lightweight Olympic champion in 1906, Rudolf Watzl, never competed at a world championship. Weckman would come back in 1908 to win the light-heavyweight Olympic championship at London.
Sóren Marinus Jensen had first competed at the world championships in 1904, but he failed to place. His world championship record would eventually include one victory (1905) and one third-place (1910), both in the heavyweight class. Jensen competed at both the 1908 and 1912 Olympic Games, winning bronze medals both times in the heavyweight division. Strangely, he had less success at the European championships, winning three silver medals between 1907 and 1912.