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Wrestling at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games:

Men's Heavyweight, Freestyle

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Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, Victoria
Date Started: November 28, 1956
Date Finished: December 1, 1956
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: TUR Hamit Kaplan
Silver: BUL Yusein Mekhmedov
Bronze: FIN Taisto Kangasniemi


The heavyweight division was considered wide-open. The gold medal was eventually won by Turkey’s [Hamit Kaplan], whose only previous international experience was winning the 1955 Balkan Games gold medal, but he would become a legend in Turkish wrestling. He had started out in Turkish oil wrestling, or yağlı güreş, but would eventually win three Olympic medals in heavyweight freestyle, adding silver in 1960 and bronze in 1964. He would win the World Championship in 1957, and added silver medals in 1959 and 1961 and a bronze medal in 1963. Kaplan also wrestled Greco-Roman, placing fourth in that class in Melbourne, and also competing in Greco in 1964 at Tokyo.

The silver in Melbourne went to Bulgarian [Yusein Mekhmedov], who was from the Turkish minority in Bulgaria. He also competed in Greco-Roman in 1956 but did not place. Bronze went to Finn [Taisto Kangasniemi], who was competing in his third Olympics, and would compete again in 1964, but this was his only Olympic medal.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsRound FiveRound FourRound ThreeRound TwoRound OneFinal Round

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal RE BP
1 Hamit Kaplan 22 Turkey TUR Gold
2 Yusein Mekhmedov 32 Bulgaria BUL Silver
3 Taisto Kangasniemi 32 Finland FIN Bronze
4T Ray Mitchell 35 Australia AUS
4T Ken Richmond 30 Great Britain GBR
6 Ivan Vykhristyuk 27 Soviet Union URS
AC Saburo Nakao Japan JPN Eliminated r3/6 5
AC Bill Kerslake 26 United States USA Eliminated r3/6 5
AC Hussain Noori Iran IRI Eliminated r3/6 7
AC Lila Ram 25 India IND Eliminated r2/6 6
AC John Da Silva 22 New Zealand NZL Eliminated r2/6 6