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Wrestling at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games:

Men's Heavyweight, Freestyle

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Host City: Helsinki, Finland
Venue(s): Exhibition Hall I, Helsinki; Exhibition Hall II, Helsinki
Date Started: July 20, 1952
Date Finished: July 23, 1952
Format: Win by fall = 0 points; win by decision = 1 point; loss of any type = 3 points. Three judges gave decisions, thus all decisions were either 2-1 or 3-0. Five bad points eliminated a wrestler. When only three wrestlers remained, if they had not yet met one another, they wrestled further rounds. Medal placements were determined by the match record among the medalists, with bad points as a tie breaker. A wrestler in the medal rounds could continue with 5 or more bad points.

Gold: URS Arsen Mek'ok'ishvili
Silver: SWE Bertil Antonsson
Bronze: GBR Ken Richmond


Sweden’s [Bertil Antonsson] was favored. He was the defending silver medalist and had won the 1946 and 1949 Europeans and 1951 World Championship. After four rounds the finalists were determined, with Antonsson joined by Soviet [Arsen Mek’ok’ishvili], and Britain’s [Ken Richmond]. Antonsson met Mek’ok’ishvili first with the Soviet winning a split decision. As he had defeated Richmond in round three, this brought Mek’ok’ishvili the gold medal. Antonsson then defeated Richmond by fall in 9:22 to secure the silver medal, bronze going to Richmond.

Mek’ok’ishvili would also win the 1954 World Championships, again defeating Antonsson, who added another silver. Mek’ok’ishvili started wrestling in the traditional Georgian style of chidaoba, winning the 1934 Georgian title in that style, but was also one the greatest sambo wrestlers, a style unique to the Soviet Union, especially in the Asian and Caucasus regions. Richmond would be the most famous of the 1952 Olympic wrestlers, as he was later a bodybuilder, but he also had a strongman act, and was most well-known as the shirtless muscleman who rang the gong at the beginning of J. Arthur Rank films.

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Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal MMR/RE BP
1 Arsen Mek'ok'ishvili 40 Soviet Union URS Gold 2-0
2 Bertil Antonsson 30 Sweden SWE Silver 1-1
3 Ken Richmond 26 Great Britain GBR Bronze 0-2
4 Ä°rfan Atan Turkey TUR
5 Bill Kerslake 22 United States USA
6 Taisto Kangasniemi 28 Finland FIN
AC Natale Vecchi 35 Italy ITA Eliminated r4/6 6
AC Willi Waltner 18 Germany GER Eliminated r4/6 7
AC Ahad Vafadar 25 Iran IRI Eliminated r2/6 5
AC Adolfo Ramírez 30 Argentina ARG Eliminated r2/6 6
AC Auguste Baarendse 20 Belgium BEL Eliminated r2/6 6
AC József Kovács Hungary HUN Eliminated r2/6 6
AC Josef Růžička 27 Czechoslovakia TCH Eliminated r2/6 6