Wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the world. Images of wrestling can be found in ancient cave drawings around the globe. Some of these drawings date back to around 15,000 years ago!
Wrestling became a part of the ancient Olympic Games in Greece in 708 BCE. In fact, wrestling was the very first competition to be added to the Olympics that was not a footrace!
In 1896, wrestlers competed in the first modern Olympic Games in Athens. And, at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the Azerbaijani wrestling team took home a total of seven medals.
The Azeri wrestling team became instantly famous. These athletes can be seen in TV ads, and can be spotted on billboards throughout the capital city of Baku.
Perhaps the biggest star is Toghrul Asgarov. He brought home an Olympic Gold Medal in Freestyle Wrestling. You can imagine my excitement when I was invited to meet this national hero!