Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Grand Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California
Date Started: August 4, 1932
Date Finished: August 7, 1932
Format: Scoring by negative points, with negative points given for any result short of a fall. Accumulation of 5 negative points eliminated the wrestler.
There were five competitors but Sweden’s Carl Westergren was favored. He had won Olympic gold medals in 1928 and 1924, a World Championship in 1922, and European titles in 1925, 1930, and 1931. His biggest challenger was expected to be German Georg Gehring, who had won European Championships in 1926 and 1929. In the second round Gehring defeated Westergren and the way seemed clear for him. But Gehring was then defeated by Czechoslovakia’s Josef Urban, which eliminated the German with five bad points. As Westergren had defeated the two remaining wrestlers, Urban and Austrian Nikolaus Hirschl, Urban’s victory over Gehring made Westergren the first Olympic wrestler to win three gold medals.
Urban defeated Hirschl by fall to win the silver medal. Hirschl also won a bronze medal in heavyweight freestyle in Los Angeles. Urban had competed at the European Championships since 1926, winning one silver and two bronze medals, but the 1932 Olympics were his last major international. Westergren competed internationally for one more year, winning a bronze medal at the 1933 Europeans.