GB Olympic Champions 1896-2014 - Wrestling
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GB WRESTLING
GOLD MEDALLISTS
George de Relwyskow
Stanley Bacon
Con O'Kelly

GB WRESTLING
MEDAL TALLY
Year
G
S
B
Total
1908
3
4
4
11
1920
0
0
2
2
1924
0
0
1
1
1928
0
0
1
1
1952
0
0
1
1
1984 0 0 1 1
Total
3
4
10
17
 
The United States heads the all-time medal list with 125 medals in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling while the Soviet Union have won the most gold medals, 82. The USA have won both the most golds and overall medals in Freestyle events.

Wilfired Dietrich of Germany/West Germany won a record five wrestling medals (1 gold, 2 bronze and 2 silver) between 1956-68. All his medals were in the heavwieght class at both Freestyle and Greco-Roman. Eight men have each won a record three wrestling gold medals.
 
 



 

 

Britain took part in the Greco-Roman WRESTLING event at the inaugural Olympics in 1896. Britain was represented by Launceston Elliot who was expected to beat his much lighter opponent Carl Schuhmann but the German got the better of him and went on to win the gold medal. However, Elliott didn't leave the Games empty handed as he won a gold and silver medal in the Weightlifting competition.

All Britain's 17 wrestling medals have been in Freestyle wrestling. Their three golds were all at the 1908 London Olympics and the first was won by Stanley Bacon (see below). In fact 11 of Britain's 17 wrestling medals were won in 1908. Noel Loban won Britain's last wrestling medal, a bronze in the light-heavyweight division in 1984 and he could well be the last ever British wrestling medallist because the sport is being dropped from the Olympic programme after 2016.


British gold medallists

DE RELWYSKOW, George Frederick William
Born: 18 June 1887, Kensington, London, England
Died: 9 November 1942, Burma (now Myanmar)
Olympics competed in: 1 (1908)
Olympic medals:
1908 Gold - Freestyle Wrestling (lightweight)
1908 Silver - Freestyle Wresling (middleweight)

The son of Russian immigrants, George de Relwyskow went into the 1908 Olympic competition as the reigning English amateur champion at lightweight and middleweight and was expected to win both Olympic titles.

However, he lost the middleweight final to Stanley Bacon, to whom de Relwyskow conceded six pounds. Bacon had 15 British titles to his name and went on to represented Britain in two more Olympics.

De Relwyskow easily beat William Wood in the lightweight final to win his gold medal. He remains the only Briton to win two wrestling medals at the Olympics, and at just over 21 years of age at the time he was the youngest ever Olympic wrestling champion, and he remained so until 1976.

De Relwyskow coached the 1924 British Olympic team before giving up the sport and moving to Leeds where he became a builder. Having served in the Army during the First World War, he re-enlisted for World War Two and was sadly killed in action in Burma. George's son, George junior, was also a wrestler and a leading wrestling promoter

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BACON, Stanley Vivian
Born: 13 August 1885, Camberwell, London, England
Died: 13 October 1952, Streatham, London, England
Olympics competed in: 3 (1908, 1912, 1920)
Olympic medals: 1908 Gold – Freestyle Wrestling (middleweight)

Stanley Bacon competed in both the Greco-Roman and Freestyle middleweight divisions at the 1908 Olympics. He was unimpressive at the Greco-Roman event but he won the gold medal in the Freestyle competition, beating fellow Briton George de Relwyskow in the final.

Stanley Bacon was one of five brothers who were also excellent wrestlers and they had nearly 30 British titles between them – Stanley won 15 of them. One brother, Edgar, a Commonwealth Games silver medallists, competed in four Olympic Games 1908-24 whilst another, Ernest, also took part in 1924.

There were no Freestyle events at the 1912 Olympics so Stanley took part in the Greco-Roman event but was eliminated early in the competition, just as he was when he returned to Freestyle in 1920, but he was 35 years of age at the time. He was one of the judges at the 1928 Olympics.

A keen all-round sportsman Stanley Bacon won Civil Service championships at Boxing and Diving and also played for their Rugby team for many years.

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O'KELLY, George Cornelius “Con”, Snr.
Born: 29 October 1886, Gloun, Dunmanmay, Cork, Ireland
Died: 3 November 1947, Stockport, Cheshire, England
Olympics competed in: 1 (1908)
Olympic medals: 1908 Gold – Freestyle Wrestling (heavyweight)

Born in Ireland, Con O'Kelly moved to Kingston upon Hull in 1902 when only 15 and a month before his 16th birthday he joined the Hull Police Force as PC249. He was then seconded to the Hull Fire Service which was, at the time, run by the local police. It was shortly afterwards that he took up wrestling and in 1907 he won the British heavyweight tile.

At the 1908 Olympics he won two matches in the heavyweight competition before beating fellow Briton Ned Barrett in the semi-final. Barrett had earlier been part of the London City police team that won the tug of war gold medal.

In the final O'Kelly came up against the reigning American heavyweight champion Jacob Gundersen who was representing his home country of Norway. Despite his weight disadvantage, O'Kelly made up for it by having youth on his side and he eventually beat Gundersen by two falls to nil.

O'Kelly left the Hull police force in 1909 and when he was in his 30s he emigrated briefly to America but returned to his native Ireland to become a farmer. He eventually returned to England where he died in 1947.

O'Kelly's son, Con junior, took part in the heavyweight boxing competition at the 1924 Olympics but was beaten in his first match. He later became a priest and was the parish priest at St Gabriel's, Alsager, Stoke on Trent, at the time of his death in 1968.

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