Host City: Helsinki, Finland
Venue(s): Exhibition Hall I, Helsinki; Exhibition Hall II, Helsinki
Date Started: July 20, 1952
Date Finished: July 23, 1952
Format: Win by fall = 0 points; win by decision = 1 point; loss of any type = 3 points. Three judges gave decisions, thus all decisions were either 2-1 or 3-0. Five bad points eliminated a wrestler. When only three wrestlers remained, if they had not yet met one another, they wrestled further rounds. Medal placements were determined by the match record among the medalists, with bad points as a tie breaker. A wrestler in the medal rounds could continue with 5 or more bad points.
Sweden’s Bertil Antonsson was favored. He was the defending silver medalist and had won the 1946 and 1949 Europeans and 1951 World Championship. After four rounds the finalists were determined, with Antonsson joined by Soviet [Arsen Mek’ok’ishvili], and Britain’s Ken Richmond. Antonsson met Mek’ok’ishvili first with the Soviet winning a split decision. As he had defeated Richmond in round three, this brought Mek’ok’ishvili the gold medal. Antonsson then defeated Richmond by fall in 9:22 to secure the silver medal, bronze going to Richmond.
Mek’ok’ishvili would also win the 1954 World Championships, again defeating Antonsson, who added another silver. Mek’ok’ishvili started wrestling in the traditional Georgian style of chidaoba, winning the 1934 Georgian title in that style, but was also one the greatest sambo wrestlers, a style unique to the Soviet Union, especially in the Asian and Caucasus regions. Richmond would be the most famous of the 1952 Olympic wrestlers, as he was later a bodybuilder, but he also had a strongman act, and was most well-known as the shirtless muscleman who rang the gong at the beginning of J. Arthur Rank films.
|1||Arsen Mek'ok'ishvili||40||Soviet Union||URS||Gold||2-0|
|3||Ken Richmond||26||Great Britain||GBR||Bronze||0-2|
|5||William Kerslake||22||United States||USA|
|AC||Natale Vecchi||35||Italy||ITA||Eliminated r4/6||6|
|AC||Willi Waltner||18||Germany||GER||Eliminated r4/6||7|
|AC||Ahad Vafadar||25||Iran||IRI||Eliminated r2/6||5|
|AC||Adolfo Ramírez||30||Argentina||ARG||Eliminated r2/6||6|
|AC||Auguste Baarendse||20||Belgium||BEL||Eliminated r2/6||6|
|AC||József Kovács||Hungary||HUN||Eliminated r2/6||6|
|AC||Josef Růžička||27||Czechoslovakia||TCH||Eliminated r2/6||6|