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Wrestling at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games:

Men's Heavyweight, Freestyle

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Host City: Berlin, Germany
Venue(s): Germany Hall, Berlin
Date Started: August 3, 1936
Date Finished: August 4, 1936
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.

Gold: EST Kristjan Palusalu
Silver: TCH Josef Klapuch
Bronze: FIN Hjalmar Nyström


Estonian [Kristjan Palusalu] had only previously competed in one international event, the 1933 European Greco-Roman Championships, in which he placed fourth. He had already won five Estonian titles in freestyle and four in Greco-Roman by the time of the 1936 Olympics. In Berlin he made history by winning the heavyweight class in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, the only time this has ever happened, making him the absolute champion wrestler of the year. In 1937 he won the European title in Greco-Roman before retiring in 1938 due to a shoulder injury. In 1991 Palusalu was voted the greatest Estonian athlete of all-time. Palusalu won his gold medal in this class with a final round unanimous decision over Finland’s [Hjalmar Nyström], who won bronze. The silver went to Czechoslovak [Josef Klapuch], who had been runner-up at the 1934 European Championships in this class, in which Nyström finished third.

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Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal RE BP
1 Kristjan Palusalu 28 Estonia EST Gold
2 Josef Klapuch 30 Czechoslovakia TCH Silver
3 Hjalmar Nyström 32 Finland FIN Bronze
4 Nils Åkerlindh 23 Sweden SWE
5 Robert Herland 26 France FRA
6 Willy Bürki 27 Switzerland SUI
AC Georg Gehring 32 Germany GER Eliminated r3/5 5
AC George Chiga 22 Canada CAN Eliminated r3/5 6
AC Mehmet Çoban 31 Turkey TUR Eliminated r3/5 7
AC Léon Charlier 33 Belgium BEL Eliminated r2/5 6
AC Roy Dunn 25 United States USA Eliminated r2/5 6