Growth of Women’s Wrestling

By Shelly Avelino

(source: Tony Rotundo/

“You wrestle?” people say in shock, when I introduce myself as a wrestler- I just smirk and let out a smile. Surprisingly, girls do wrestle. There are female athletes in a male-dominated sport; I think it is great that they go against the double-standard world we live in.

Although the sport of wrestling is a male-dominated sport, female athletes are starting to come into the spotlight. Since 1994 the female wrestling population, in the U.S., grew from 804 wrestlers to over 13,000. With the sport expanding on the girl’s side, more opportunities are opening up to females- in high school, college, and even past college.

“Women’s wrestling grew from 804 wrestlers to over 13,000”

The female wrestlers of California, Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and washington are the only wrestlers who have a state sanctioned tournament. 7 states with an actual tournament dedicated to female wrestlers, out of 50 states… That is not a lot. It doesn’t mean there aren’t female wrestlers residing in those states, there just isn’t enough girls- which is a problem. But why

(Source: jrSachs)

“7…. out of 50 states…”

Just like males, female athletes of the sport have something to look forward to, if they want to continue their career as a wrestler and go to college, several colleges have opened up in the U.S. offering Women’s wrestling. They look for girls who are willing to represent them so they offer the wrestlers scholarships- but unfortunately a lot of the girls stop after high school, therefore it makes wrestling, for some girls, one of the ‘easier’ sports to get a scholarship for.

But coming into the college world of wrestling, Women’s wrestling is different. It is more competitive and tougher than high school- it takes a lot to be committed to something for so long. Which makes it a hard decision as a highschooler. But think of it as this- doing something you love, while getting an education at a cheaper price; I think it would be worth it.

I get that not a lot of people wrestle, which is why it’s not publicized. But can we change that? Yes, well atleast I think so. The sport of wrestling shapes people into who they are; it really teaches you a lot about yourself, disciplines you and it not only strengthens you physically, but mentally too. The wrestling atmosphere is really different from a lot of sports; the community is close. Everyone knows everyone and it really changes your perspectives about the real world.

And when I say wrestling the first thing comes to mind is probably WWE, that is not what i am talking about. That is a whole different world.

There isn’t enough publicity about women’s wrestling, let alone wrestling in general. We hear about mainstream sports such as football, basketball, baseball or soccer- no wrestling. I don’t see big tournaments stream on national television, only on websites specially made for the wrestling community. Why do you think It is only on special websites? Because there is no hype about wrestling.

The sport of wrestling was one of the original games played in the Olympics, yet it gets no attention. In some places in the world, people don’t even know women’s wrestling exists. How are we supposed to make a name for women’s wrestling if people don’t even know It exists?

In 2004, The Olympic Games finally came out with women’s wrestling as sport to compete in- It gave another opportunity to the female athlete. In addition, it made current female wrestlers have an ultimate goal, just like the male’s- A dream to make it to the olympics or even winning the olympics.

“A dream to make it to the olympics”

Speaking of, It was not until this past olympic games that the United states brought home our very first Women’s wrestling champion- Helen maroulis. If men can do it, so can we.

( — jrSachs)

The world we live in today is not much different than the previous generation. We bicker about who is more dominant, who had to play what role in society; but the difference is, in this day and age, females have a loud voice. We are heard, sometimes not listened to, but still heard. What I’m trying to say is people listen to what females say about the sport, therefore, we can be the future of wrestling.

Shelly A, 17. High school wrestler, 2020 Olympic hopeful.

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