As one of the world’s oldest sports, images of wrestling can be found in ancient cave drawings around the globe. Some date back as early as 15,000 years ago.
Wrestling first became a part of the ancient Olympic Games in Greece in 708 BCE. Then, in 1896, wrestlers competed in the first modern Olympic Games in Athens.
Ever since the Azerbaijani wrestling team racked up a total of seven medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the sport has become a much-discussed and wildly popular topic in the country. To say the Azeri team members are popular here would be a gross understatement. They are featured on national television ads, and can frequently be spotted on billboards throughout the capital city.
Perhaps the biggest star is Toghrul Asgarov who brought home Olympic Gold in Freestyle Wrestling. You can imagine the excitement when I was invited to meet (and wrestle) the national hero!