Nicolae Martinescu, Olympic wrestling champ, dies

Nicolae Martinescu won gold in the Greco-Roman heavyweight wrestling class in the 1972 Olympics. Nicolae Martinescu "was a very talented wrestler," according to FILA.

Wrestling's governing body says former Olympic champion Nicolae Martinescu of Romania has died. He was 73.

Martinescu won gold in the Greco-Roman heavyweight class in 1972 Olympics and light-heavyweight bronze at the 1968 Mexico City Games.

A statement by the sport's governing body, FILA (International Federation of Associated Wrestling), said: "Mr Nicolae Martinescu was a very talented wrestler (Olympic gold medal in Munich in 1972, Olympic bronze medal in Mexico in 1968 and 2 silver medals in World Championships) All our thoughts are for his family and the Romanian Wrestling Federation."

FILA did not give details of Martinescu's death.

Greco-Roman wrestling, according to FILA, "is a combat sport which confronts two male competitors who try to gain control over their opponent through the use of throws, locks, and clinching techniques. The holds can only be execuded by means of the upper body, with the ultimate goal of pinning the opponent's shoulders to the mat. If a wrestler manages to do so, victory by "fall" is proclaimed, otherwise, the match pursues until the end of the regular time and the winner is decided according to the technical points scored. "

Wrestling was introduced to the programme of the ancient Olympic Games in 708 BC. Greco-Roman wrestling was then the first style registered in the Modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896 and this form of professional entertainment became a first class amateur sport during the 20th century. Wrestling was never absent from the Olympic programme, except during the Games in Paris in 1900.

According to the ranking of the last World Cup of Greco-Roman wrestling, the leading countries in this style are: Iran, Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Cuba, Korea, and Bulgaria.

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