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.
American Henry Wittenberg was the defending gold medalist and was back, and had not been beaten since the 1948 Olympics, although he had wrestled mostly in the United States. His biggest challenger was expected to be Sweden’s Viking Palm, runner-up at the 1949 Europeans and 1951 World Championships. The gold medal was effectively decided in round three when Palm and Wittenberg met, with Palm winning by unanimous decision. Both went on to the final round, joined by Turkey’s Adil Atan. In the final match Palm won a split decision over Atan, which secured him the gold medal, with Wittenberg taking silver, having defeated Atan by fall, and Atan the bronze medal. Palm would compete at the 1956 and 1960 Olympics in this event, but failed to medal. Atan would return to the Olympics at Melbourne in 1956, competing in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, but also failed to mount the podium. For Wittenberg, who was also a two-time champion at the Maccabiah Games, this was the end of his wrestling career.
|2||Henry Wittenberg||33||United States||USA||Silver||1-1|
|4||August Englas||27||Soviet Union||URS|
|6||Jan Theron||21||South Africa||RSA|
|AC||Paavo Sepponen||28||Finland||FIN||Eliminated r3/6||6|
|AC||Max Leichter||32||Germany||GER||Eliminated r3/6||7|
|AC||Willy Lardon||Switzerland||SUI||Withdrew r3/6||3|
|AC||Shirang Jadav||24||India||IND||Eliminated r2/6||5|
|AC||Kevin Coote||20||Australia||AUS||Eliminated r2/6||6|
|AC||Bob Steckle||21||Canada||CAN||Eliminated r2/6||6|
|AC||Rodolfo Padron||24||Venezuela||VEN||Eliminated r2/6||6|