Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Sangmu Gynmasium, Seongnam
Date Started: September 29, 1988
Date Finished: October 1, 1988
Format: Two groups (A and B). Double elimination tournament within each group. Top four in each group advance to placement matches for 1st-8th place.
This class was different than in past Olympics as there was a maximum weight limit for the first time, with wrestlers required to no more than 130 kg, or 286 lbs. This was to prevent the massive men who had taken over this class since American [Chris Taylor] in 1972, who weighed in at over 400 lbs. (182 kg).
The two greatest heavyweights in the 1980s and early 90s were American Bruce Baumgartner and Soviet Georgian Davit Gobejishvili. With Gobejishvili boycotted out of the 1984 Olympics, Baumgartner had an easier time winning gold. Gobejishvili had won the 1985 Worlds, while Baumgartner pushed him back to silver in 1986. Gobejishvili briefly lost his first spot as Soviet super-heavyweight to [Aslan Khadartsev], the 1987 World and 1988-89 European Champion. At the 1988 World Cup Gobejishvili met Baumgartner and defeated him, which caused Soviet wrestling officials to have Khadartsev and Gobejishvili meet in a no time-limit match, which Gobejishvili won in 30 minutes to qualify for the 1988 Olympics.
In Seoul Baumgartner won four matches to win Group A, while Gobejishvili needed five matches in Group B. The final was close but Gobejishvili controlled it throughout, leading 3-0 until Baumgartner scored a late point, losing 3-1. The two would continue to dominate this class through the 1992 Olympics, where Baumgartner came back to win a second gold medal, with Gobejishvili taking bronze. Baumgartner also won a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics.
|1||Davit Gobejishvili||25||Soviet Union||URS||Gold|
|2||Bruce Baumgartner||27||United States||USA||Silver|
|3||Andreas Schröder||28||East Germany||GDR||Bronze|
|8||Ralf Bremmer||20||West Germany||FRG|
|AC||Navind Ramsaran||27||Mauritius||MRI||Eliminated r3/4 Group A||4,0|
|AC||Ham Deog-Won||27||South Korea||KOR||Eliminated r3/4 Group A||3,0|
|AC||Jesús Montesdeoca||21||Spain||ESP||Eliminated r2/4 Group A||1,0|
|AC||Hassan El-Haddad||31||Egypt||EGY||Withdrew r2/4 Group A||0,0|
|AC||Dennis Atiyeh||24||Syria||SYR||Eliminated r3/5 Group B||4,0|
|AC||Hiroyuki Obata||19||Japan||JPN||Eliminated r3/5 Group B||3,0|
|AC||Miroslav Luberda||24||Czechoslovakia||TCH||Eliminated r2/5 Group B||0,0|