Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, Victoria
Date Started: November 28, 1956
Date Finished: December 1, 1956
Format: Elimination by bad points. Win by fall = 0 points; win by decision = 1 point; loss by 2-1 decision = 2 points; loss by 3-0 decision = 3 points; loss by fall = 3 points. Three judges gave decisions, thus all decisions were either 2-1 or 3-0. Five bad points eliminated a wrestler.
The heavyweight division was considered wide-open. The gold medal was eventually won by Turkey’s Hamit Kaplan, whose only previous international experience was winning the 1955 Balkan Games gold medal, but he would become a legend in Turkish wrestling. He had started out in Turkish oil wrestling, or yağlı güreş, but would eventually win three Olympic medals in heavyweight freestyle, adding silver in 1960 and bronze in 1964. He would win the World Championship in 1957, and added silver medals in 1959 and 1961 and a bronze medal in 1963. Kaplan also wrestled Greco-Roman, placing fourth in that class in Melbourne, and also competing in Greco in 1964 at Tokyo.
The silver in Melbourne went to Bulgarian Yusein Mekhmedov, who was from the Turkish minority in Bulgaria. He also competed in Greco-Roman in 1956 but did not place. Bronze went to Finn Taisto Kangasniemi, who was competing in his third Olympics, and would compete again in 1964, but this was his only Olympic medal.
|4T||Ken Richmond||30||Great Britain||GBR|
|6||Ivan Vykhristyuk||29||Soviet Union||URS|
|AC||Saburo Nakao||Japan||JPN||Eliminated r3/6||5|
|AC||William Kerslake||26||United States||USA||Eliminated r3/6||5|
|AC||Hussain Noori||Iran||IRI||Eliminated r3/6||7|
|AC||Lila Ram||25||India||IND||Eliminated r2/6||6|
|AC||John Da Silva||22||New Zealand||NZL||Eliminated r2/6||6|