London 2012 Guide to…Wrestling



OLYMPIC Wrestling goes all the way back to 706BC in the Ancient Games.

It was seen as the ultimate test of strength, stamina and skill between two men.

Women then came on in the act, competing for the first time in 2004.

  • Objectives

The aim in wrestling is to overpower your opponent and pin them to the ground – not literally.

The more stylish the flips and throws are, the more points are awarded.

The contest is over three rounds, so if a pin is not secured, it is decided on points.

  • Two disciplines

Greco-Roman is when only the upper body and arms are able to be used, while in freestyle, the whole body is permitted.

  • Favourites

Russia, Sweden and Finland tend to dominate the Greco-Roman format, with the USA, Russia and Japan the ones to watch in freestyle.

  • Weightlifting in London

Weightlifting takes place in the ExCeL, with 344 athletes taking part in 18 different categories.

And finally…

Look out for: bone crunching moves.

Not to be confused with: your everyday fight.

Useless but informative fact: the longest Olympic wrestling match took 11 hours in Stockholm in 1912.

Wrestling in two words: brutal extravagance.

Wrestling takes place between Sunday 5 and Sunday 12 August.



London 2012 Guide to…Weightlifting



WEIGHTLIFTING featured at the first modern Games in 1896, but only became a constant from 1920 onwards.

The heaviest weight ever lifted was 263.5kg by Iranian Hossein Rezazadeh in 2004 – that’s the equivalent of two baby elephants!

  • How it works

Two moves must be completed.

The ‘snatch’ requires the bar to be lifted from the floor to above the head in one quick movement.

And the ‘clean and jerk’ is when athletes must bring the bar up to their shoulders, then extend it above the head in a separate movement.

  • Weightlifting in London

260 athletes will be competing in 15 different events – eight for men and seven for women.

The Eastern European countries and China will once again be the nations in and among the medals.

And finally…

Look out for: ecstatic weightlifters. The sport can get you very emotional, so when something is achieved, you’ll see it alright.

Not to be confused with: people trying to get fit.

Useless but informative fact: strongest weightlifters can lift more than three times their body weight.

Weightlifting in two words: Explosive strength.

The weightlifting events take place at the ExCeL, from Saturday 28 July to Tuesday 7 August.


London 2012 Guide to…Taekwondo

TAEKWONDO emerged in the South Korean military in the 1950s.

The word is roughly translated as ‘the art of foot and fist’.

The sport is seen as the most popular martial art in the world.

  • More than a fight

There more ways to attack, compared with boxing or wrestling, making it more attractive for spectators. Kicks and punches are used, including scissor kicks and quick spinning.

  • Taekwondo in London

128 athletes will be competing in eight events, of various weight categories.

And finally…

Look out for: Sarah Stevenson. The Brit won a bronze in Beijing and will be hoping for another medal in  her home games.

Not to be confused with: boxing.

Useless but informative fact: kicking is used because the Koreans felt the hands were needed for combat, so too important to use.

Taekwondo in two words: aggression needed.

Taekwondo will be at the ExCeL between Wednesday 8 and Saturday 11 August.


London 2012 Guide to…Table Tennis


OVER 20% of the world’s population play table tennis, making it one of the world’s most played sports.

The game was initially played in Britain in the early 1900s, but it is now China who are really masters of the game.

  • Table Tennis in London

172 players will be competing in four events, with the Chinese odds-on favourite to be among the medals.

The have won an incredible 20 gold medals, with the nearest challengers South Korea who only have three.

  • It’s quick

Table Tennis is played at a lightning pace, and you really have to see up close to see the different techniques used by players to get the better of their opponents.

And finally…

Look out for: long rallies. They are actually quite rare but when they do occur, they are certainly to be admired.

Not to be confused with: Tennis.

Useless but informative fact: In exchanges, the ball can travel at 100mph.

Table Tennis in two words: Ping Pong.

Table Tennis takes place at the ExCeL between Saturday 28th July and Wednesday 8th August.


London 2012 Guide to…Fencing


FENCING is probably the only way you’re ever going to see a legal sword fight in the 21st century.

It is one of the few sports that have featured in every modern Olympics, since it started in 1896.

  • How it works

Individual contests are divided up in to three rounds of three minutes, or shorter should one fencer score 15 points.

In the team events, three fencers compete against their opponents over nine rounds and a maximum of 45 points can be won.

Every fencing match is a knock-out, so it really is do or die.

  • Foil, épée and sabre

There are three forms of fencing at the Olympics, with the principles being essentially the same although with some subtle differences.

  • Foil

The foil is the lightest and quickest sword used. It has an electric button at its tip and to win a point, a fencer must depress the tip on the opponent for at least 15 MILLISECONDS. (Bet you didn’t know there was a speed as fast as that).

The scoring area is the torso, which is covered in a conductive material that alerts officials when a point is scored. If both fencers score a point at the same time, the point is awarded to the fencer who initiated the exchange.

Hope that’s clear.

  • Epée

Epée fencing is more free-flowing, compared with the foil. The blade is heavier, and fencers can hit anywhere on an opponent’s body.

The épée is fitted with a button at its tip and to win a point it needs to touch the opponent for one millisecond, with a force of at least 7.35 Newtons. Fact.

  • Sabre

Sabre swords have a double-edged blade and points are earned by touching the upper-half of the opponent. This might sound easy, so footwork is particularly key to getting the better of your opponent.

  • Fencing in London

There are a total of 10 gold medals up for grabs.

For the men, there’s the individual foil, épée and sabre, along with the team épée and sabre.

For women, there’s indivudal foil, épée and sabre, and team foil and sabre events.

  • Ones to watch

The French and Italians are likely to be up in the medals, as both nations have a strong Olympic history in the sport.

Italy have 45 golds to France’s 41, and both have an overall total of 100+ Olympic Fencing medals.

And finally…

Look out for: a Star Wars character. There’s bound to be one turning up with his lightsaber looking for a fight. Perhaps.

Not to be confused with: fences, which lay no part whatsoever.

Useless but informative fact: Italian Nedo Nadl won all three fencing gold medals at the 1920 Games in Antwerp – the only person to have ever done so.

Fencing in two words: be alert.

Fencing takes place from Saturday 28th July to Sunday 5th August, at ExCeL – the exhibition and conference centre in London Docklands.