Host City: Beijing, China
Date Started: August 12, 2008
Date Finished: August 12, 2008
Participants: 343 (277 men and 66 women) from 59 countries
Youngest Participant: Xu Li (18 years, 243 days)
Oldest Participant: T. C. Dantzler (37 years, 292 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 71 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): Russia (11 medals)
The 2008 wrestling events were held at the [China Agricultural University Gymnasium], an indoor arena on the campus of the China Agricultural Gymnasium in Beijing. The gymnasium was built specifically for the Beijing Olympics but was turned into a sports complex for the university after the Games.
The wrestling program was the same as in 2004, with 7 events in both freestyle and Greco-Roman for men, and 4 freestyle events for women. The formats were changed again in 2008, this time using basically a single-elimination tournament. A Bergvall style repêchage tournament was then held among all those losing to the finalists. Those wrestlers competed in single-elimination matches until only two remained, and both of them were given bronze medals, thus, there were two bronze medals in every class for the first time at the Olympics. The individual match format was also changed, with wrestlers competing more in a tennis-style format of three periods. To win a match a wrestler had to win two of three periods, and the match would end after the second period, if the score was 2-0.
As in 2004, Russia dominated the men's events, leading with 10 medals and 6 golds, and leading both medal lists (totals and golds) in both styles. And as they had been in 2004, Japan was the leading women's nation, winning medals in all 4 events with 2 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze medal, precisely as they had done at Athina.