Host City: London, Great Britain
Date Started: July 29, 1948
Date Finished: August 6, 1948
Participants: 219 (219 men and 0 women) from 29 countries
Youngest Participant: Raymond Strasser (17 years, 324 days)
Oldest Participant: Stan Bissell (41 years, 282 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 48 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): Sweden (13 medals)
The 1948 wrestling tournament took place in the Empress Hall at Earl’s Court. This venue hosted boxing preliminaries, weightlifting, and gymnastics, in addition to wrestling, at the 1948 Olympics. Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre originally opened in 1887 and was rebuilt in 1937. It has been a premier exhibition hall in London for many years, and in 2012 also hosted the volleyball tournaments at the next London Olympics. In late 2013 plans were made to demolish the venue to make way for a new residential and retail site. The wrestling events were originally scheduled for Harringay Arena but a large basketball schedule to be held there necessitated moving the mat events to Empress Hall.
The wrestling program was expanded in 1948, adding an eighth class for both freestyle and Greco-Roman. This was a flyweight class, and the weight limits for the lower classes were adjusted slightly. The tournaments were again conducted using a negative (bad) point system. A win by fall earned 0 points, while winning by unanimous decision gained the wrestler 1 point. A loss by majority decision (2-1) cost 2 points, and a loss by unanimous decision or fall cost 3 points. Wrestlers were eliminated when they accumulated 5 points, so effectively the event was a double elimination tournament.
Sweden and Turkey dominated wrestling in 1948, with Sweden winning 13 medals and 5 gold medals, while Turkey won 11 medals and 6 gold medals. They also were the top nations in each style, with both winning 6 freestyle medals, although Turkey won 4 freestyle golds, while Sweden was shut-out. Sweden won 7 Greco-Roman medals and 5 medals, with Turkey winning 5 Greco medals and 2 events.