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Wrestling at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games:

Men's Heavyweight, Greco-Roman

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Host City: Berlin, Germany
Venue(s): Germany Hall, Berlin
Date Started: August 6, 1936
Date Finished: August 9, 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: SWE John Nyman
Bronze: GER Kurt Hornfischer


Germany’s [Kurt Hornfischer] had won the European title in 1933-35 and was expected to win in front of his countrymen. He made it to the final round where he was met by Estonian [Kristjan Palusalu] and Sweden’s [John Nyman]. Nyman drew a bye, and Palusalu defeated Hornfischer by unanimous decision. Since Palusalu had already defeated Nyman earlier in the tournament, this gave the gold medal to Palusalu, with Nyman winning silver and Hornfischer bronze.

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.

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Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal RE BP
1 Kristjan Palusalu 28 Estonia EST Gold
2 John Nyman 28 Sweden SWE Silver
3 Kurt Hornfischer 26 Germany GER Bronze
4 Mehmet Çoban 31 Turkey TUR
5 Hjalmar Nyström 32 Finland FIN
6 Aleardo Donati 32 Italy ITA
AC Alberts Zvejnieks 33 Latvia LAT Eliminated r3/5 6
AC Josef Klapuch 30 Czechoslovakia TCH Eliminated r3/5 6
AC Eduard Schöll 32 Austria AUT Eliminated r2/5 6
AC Peter Larsen 32 Denmark DEN Eliminated r2/5 6
AC Zoltan Kondorossy 30 Romania ROU Eliminated r2/5 6
AC Stevan Nađ 33 Yugoslavia YUG Eliminated r2/5 6