The Greco-Roman wrestling program at the United States Olympic Education Center was established in 1999.
There are typically 30-40 resident athletes on the team each year. Athletes work on perfecting their technique in the wrestling gym on the second floor of Northern Michigan University’s Superior Dome.
Most of the current USOEC Greco-Roman wrestlers are ranked nationally, and several have represented the United States in world championship competition at the FILA-Junior, University and Senior levels.
With the possible exception of track and field (athletics), wrestling is the most ancient sport known to have been continuously practiced competitively. When the modern Olympic Games resumed in Athens in 1896, organizers considered wrestling so historically significant that it became a focus of the Games.
Popularly referred to simply as 'Greco,' this style of wrestling forbids attacks below the waist. A wrestler may not attack his opponent's legs, nor use his own legs to trip, lift or execute any other moves. As a result, throws are encouraged as the opponent cannot avoid being thrown by simply hooking or grabbing his opponent's leg.
Greco-Roman wrestling varies vastly from "folkstyle" wrestling which is popular in American schools and universities. Not only are the techniques different, but also the scoring, match procedures, and the strategies.
Where in folkstyle control is everything, in Greco there is very little emphasis on control. In a Greco-Roman match if there is no scoring after 15 seconds on the mat the wrestlers are brought back to their feet. Since control is not important, the bottom wrestler isn't expected to escape or reverse his opponent, but just to defend the attack.
Another difference related to control is the ability in Greco to score points without having control of your opponent. Some techniques such as tilts and front headlocks while under attack can score continuously without ever gaining control.
The match starts with the wrestlers standing on their feet. The wrestlers attempt to take their opponents down to the mat to score points. Wrestling also occurs down on the mat, known as "par terre". If no points are scored after 15 seconds, the referee will stop the match and bring both wrestlers back to their feet.
In Greco-Roman wrestling each of the three two-minute periods are broken up into three mini-periods. The first segment wrestled is on the feet. After one minute the period is stopped. The referee tosses a coin to determine the position for the two wrestlers in the par terre position on the mat.
With one wrestler on his hands and knees, the top wrestler secures a reverse body lock position and awaits the referee's blow of the whistle to resume wrestling. The top wrestler has 30 seconds to score in this position with a lift and throw or by exposing his opponent's back to the mat. After 30 seconds has elapsed, the wrestlers switch positions.
The main objective in wrestling is to pin your opponent. This is achieved by holding the opponent's shoulder blades to the mat for about one-half of a second. The pin automatically ends the match. A pin is also known as a fall.
Points are awarded for performing techniques or moves within the rules. One point is awarded for a takedown when the opponent goes from their feet to the mat without exposing their back. If an opponent goes directly to their back from the standing position, three-points are scored.
A five-point takedown can be scored for a "grand amplitude" throw. This maneuver will end the period of a match. Greco-Roman wrestling is know for powerful lifts and exciting throws.
Tactics and strategies are an integral part of the sport.
If legs are used as a part of the attack by an aggressor, no points are scored and the wrestlers are returned to the standing position. Only one official needs to see the leg usage for the move to be nullified.
If legs are used to prevent a move, the attacker receives whatever points are gained, a caution point or points, and choice of position. If a throw from the standing position is blocked, the attacker receives two-points plus the position choice. If a move on the mat is prevented, the attacker receives one-point plus choice. In either case, the offender receives a single caution.
When wrestling in the par terre position, if an opponent has their back exposed to the mat at an angle less than 45 degrees, two-points are awarded. If the wrestler who has control can hold their opponent on their back for a least five seconds without scoring a fall, one-point is scored.
In the exceptional case where the period ends with a 0-0 tie, a clinch will be ordered at the end of regulation time. The referee will proceed with a coin toss to determine the wrestler who must clinch first. In the clinch, both wrestlers are standing, chest to chest, feet in the center circle. The wrestler who wins the coin toss, takes the grip first, an "under-over" body-lock. The clinch will last a maximum of 20 seconds. Whoever scores first from the clinch wins the period. If after 20 seconds, the wrestler who was selected to clinch first did not execute a scoring technique, his opponent will be awarded one-point and will win the period.
The duration of the match is divided into three periods of two minutes each with a break of 30 seconds given between each period. The wrestler who wins two periods is declared the winner of the match. If the victory can be declared after two periods, the period is suppressed. A fall automatically ends the match regardless of the period in which it occurs.
At the end of each bout, the arm of the winning wrestler is raised. The wrestlers shake hands with the referee and with their opponent, then with the judge and mat chairman.
Wrestling is contested on a mat, with a nine-meter circular competition area. There is also a one-meter protective border on all international mats.
There is a band, a one-meter passivity "zone" on the outside edge of the mat circle. This is the mat edge, an area where wrestlers start being encouraged by officials to stay in the competition area. The mat official will indicate using the team "zone", plus the color of the offending wrestler to move towards the center of the mat.
If a wrestler unintentionally steps out-of-bounds, or is pushed out of the zone off the competition circle, one-point is awarded.
There are three officials for every international style wrestling match, a referee (on the mat) plus a chairman and a judge. The judge sits directly across from the chairman, and indicates by a scoring paddle how they interpret each scoring move.
The official awards points on a majority vote. At least two of the three officials must agree on technical points and falls. It is the chairs decision on a score only when the referee and judge differ in their calls. The chair may, however, request a conference when there is a question on the score.
For a fall to be scored there must be an agreement between two of the three officials. The confirming official does not need to see the call, only agree that the referee was in the correct position to see the fall.
The squad is led by 1996 Olympic head coach Rob Hermann and World Champion and Olympian Aghasi Manukyan.