Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Grand Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California
Date Started: August 1, 1932
Date Finished: August 3, 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.
Nine wrestlers competed but the favorite was likely Finland’s Eino Leino, who mostly lived in the United States during his wrestling career and rarely competed internationally, except at the Olympics. This was his fourth Olympic Games as a freestyle wrestler. He had won gold in 1920 as a middleweight, silver in 1924, and bronze in 1928, dropping down in each weight at each Olympics. The medals eventually came down to Leino, American Jack VanBebber, and Canada’s Danny McDonald, with the three advancing to the medal round. The decisive gold medal match, however, had come in round three when VanBebber decisioned McDonald. In the medal round, both North Americans defeated Leino to give the gold to VanBebber, based on his earlier victory over McDonald, who took silver.
The bronze was the fourth consecutive Olympic medal for Leino. VanBebber was likely the best American wrestler in Los Angeles as he had won three AAU and three NCAA titles before the Olympics. VanBebber had left the wrestling arena prior to his final match and he was six miles away less than an hour before the match was to start. He got there by walking two miles and then getting a lift from a driver who recognized him as a wrestler at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
|1||Jack VanBebber||25||United States||USA||Gold|
|AC||Jean Földeak||29||Germany||GER||Eliminated r4/5||5|
|AC||Gyula Zombori||Hungary||HUN||Eliminated r3/5||6|
|AC||Børge Jensen||21||Denmark||DEN||Eliminated r2/5||6|
|AC||Ludvig Lindblom||22||Sweden||SWE||Eliminated r2/5||6|
|AC||Yoshio Kono||Japan||JPN||Eliminated r2/5||6|
|AC||Raúl López||Mexico||MEX||Withdrew r2/5||3|