Wrestling at the 1936 Summer Olympics – Men's freestyle heavyweight

The men's freestyle heavyweight competition at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin took place from 3 August to 4 August at the Deutschlandhalle. Nations were limited to one competitor.[1][2] This weight class allowed wrestlers over 87kg.[3]

Men's freestyle heavyweight
at the Games of the XI Olympiad
Dates3–4 August
Competitors11 from 11 nations
1st place, gold medalist(s) Kristjan Palusalu  Estonia
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Josef Klapuch  Czechoslovakia
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Hjalmar Nyström  Finland
← 1932
1948 →

This freestyle wrestling competition continued to use the "bad points" elimination system introduced at the 1928 Summer Olympics for Greco-Roman and at the 1932 Summer Olympics for freestyle wrestling, with a slight modification. Each round featured all wrestlers pairing off and wrestling one bout (with one wrestler having a bye if there were an odd number). The loser received 3 points if the loss was by fall or unanimous decision and 2 points if the decision was 2-1 (this was the modification from prior years, where all losses were 3 points). The winner received 1 point if the win was by decision and 0 points if the win was by fall. At the end of each round, any wrestler with at least 5 points was eliminated.[3]


Date Event
3 August 1936 Round 1
4 August 1936 Round 2
Round 3
Round 4
Round 5


Round 1Edit

Of the winners, three won by fall and advanced with 0 points (as did Herland, who had a bye) while two won by decision and moved to the second round with 1 point. Of the losers, Gehring lost by split decision and received 2 points while the other five received 3 points for losses by fall or unanimous decision.[4]

Winner Nation Victory Type Loser Nation
Kristjan Palusalu   Estonia Fall Josef Klapuch   Czechoslovakia
Mehmet Çoban   Turkey Decision, 3–0 Léon Charlier   Belgium
Willy Bürki   Switzerland Decision, 2–1 Georg Gehring   Germany
Nils Åkerlindh   Sweden Fall Roy Dunn   United States
Hjalmar Nyström   Finland Fall George Chiga   Canada
Robert Herland   France Bye N/A N/A
Rank Wrestler Nation Start Earned Total
1 Nils Akerlindh   Sweden 0 0 0
1 Robert Herland   France 0 0 0
1 Hjalmar Nyström   Finland 0 0 0
1 Kristjan Palusalu   Estonia 0 0 0
5 Willy Bürki   Switzerland 0 1 1
5 Mehmet Çoban   Turkey 0 1 1
7 Georg Gehring   Germany 0 2 2
8 Léon Charlier   Belgium 0 3 3
8 George Chiga   Canada 0 3 3
8 Roy Dunn   United States 0 3 3
8 Josef Klapuch   Czechoslovakia 0 3 3

Round 2Edit

The four men who started the round with 0 points all ended with a different number of points: Palusalu won by fall, staying at 0; Akerlindh won by decision, earning 1 point; Nyström lost by split decision, accumulating 2 points; and Herland lost by fall, getting 3 points. With four of the five bouts ending by fall, Bürki stayed at 1 point, Gehring stayed at 2, and Klapuch stayed at 3 (as did Chiga, who had a bye). Çoban's loss moved him to 4 points; Charlier's and Dunn's eliminated them.[4]

Winner Nation Victory Type Loser Nation
Kristjan Palusalu   Estonia Fall Robert Herland   France
Josef Klapuch   Czechoslovakia Fall Léon Charlier   Belgium
Georg Gehring   Germany Fall Mehmet Çoban   Turkey
Willy Bürki   Switzerland Fall Roy Dunn   United States
Nils Akerlindh   Sweden Decision, 2–1 Hjalmar Nyström   Finland
George Chiga   Canada Bye N/A N/A
Rank Wrestler Nation Start Earned Total
1 Kristjan Palusalu   Estonia 0 0 0
2 Nils Akerlindh   Sweden 0 1 1
2 Willy Bürki   Switzerland 1 0 1
4 Georg Gehring   Germany 2 0 2
4 Hjalmar Nyström   Finland 0 2 2
6 George Chiga   Canada 3 0 3
6 Robert Herland   France 0 3 3
6 Josef Klapuch   Czechoslovakia 3 0 3
9 Mehmet Çoban   Turkey 1 3 4
10 Léon Charlier   Belgium 3 3 6
11 Roy Dunn   United States 3 3 6

Round 3Edit

Palusalu picked up his first point, winning by decision to eliminate Çoban. Akerlindh also finished the round with 1 point, defeating Bürki (who stayed in competition with 4 points) by fall. Nyström stayed at 2 points with a bye; Herland stayed at 3 with a win by fall. Klapuch received his fourth point. Gehring and Chiga were eliminated.[4]

Winner Nation Victory Type Loser Nation
Robert Herland   France Fall George Chiga   Canada
Kristjan Palusalu   Estonia Decision, 3–0 Mehmet Çoban   Turkey
Josef Klapuch   Czechoslovakia Decision, 3–0 Georg Gehring   Germany
Nils Akerlindh   Sweden Fall Willy Bürki   Switzerland
Hjalmar Nyström   Finland Bye N/A N/A
Rank Wrestler Nation Start Earned Total
1 Kristjan Palusalu   Estonia 0 1 1
1 Nils Akerlindh   Sweden 1 0 1
3 Hjalmar Nyström   Finland 2 0 2
4 Robert Herland   France 3 0 3
5 Willy Bürki   Switzerland 1 3 4
5 Josef Klapuch   Czechoslovakia 3 1 4
7 Georg Gehring   Germany 2 3 5
8 George Chiga   Canada 3 3 6
9 Mehmet Çoban   Turkey 4 3 7

Round 4Edit

All three bouts were won by fall, with the winners staying on their starting point totals (Palusalu at 1, Nyström at 2, Klapuch at 4). The loss was not enough to eliminate Akerlindh, who started with 1 point and ended with 4; he withdrew after the round anyway. Herland and Bürki, however, were eliminated.[4]

Winner Nation Victory Type Loser Nation
Hjalmar Nyström   Finland Fall Robert Herland   France
Kristjan Palusalu   Estonia Fall Willy Bürki   Switzerland
Josef Klapuch   Czechoslovakia Fall Nils Akerlindh   Sweden
Rank Wrestler Nation Start Earned Total
1 Kristjan Palusalu   Estonia 1 0 1
2 Hjalmar Nyström   Finland 2 0 2
3 Josef Klapuch   Czechoslovakia 4 0 4
4 Nils Akerlindh   Sweden 1 3 4r
5 Robert Herland   France 3 3 6
6 Willy Bürki   Switzerland 4 3 7

Round 5Edit

Palusalu had previously defeated Klapuch, but Nyström had not faced either other wrestler. Klapuch received the bye in this round, with Nyström and Palusalu wrestling. Had Nyström earned fewer than 3 points in the round, another bout would have been contested with Nyström and Klapuch facing off.

Klapuch could not earn the gold medal regardless of the result. A Palusalu win would result in him taking gold with fewer points than either other remaining wrestler and no possible bouts left for the Estonian. A Palusalu loss by split decision would still place him at fewer points than Klapuch, keeping Klapuch from the gold. Even a Palusalu loss by fall or unanimous decision, leaving Palusalu and Klapuch tied on points, would not be enough for Klapuch, as Palusalu had the head-to-head tie-breaker.

Nyström still had a chance at the gold medal. A win by fall or unanimous decision over Palusalu followed by any win over Klapuch would earn gold for Nyström. A win by split decision over Palusalu would leave the men tied on points and give Nyström the head-to-head tie-breaker, but Nyström would still need to face Klapuch and therefore would need to go scoreless in that final bout—that is, win by fall, to take the gold.

Palusalu defeated Nyström by unanimous decision. This gave Nyström 5 points, eliminating him with the bronze medal. Klapuch and Palusalu were not eliminated, but could not face each other again, so the competition was over with Palusalu taking gold with 2 points and Klapuch silver with 4.

Winner Nation Victory Type Loser Nation
Kristjan Palusalu   Estonia Decision, 3–0 Hjalmar Nyström   Finland
Josef Klapuch   Czechoslovakia Bye N/A N/A
Rank Wrestler Nation Start Earned Total
  Kristjan Palusalu   Estonia 1 1 2
  Josef Klapuch   Czechoslovakia 4 0 4
  Hjalmar Nyström   Finland 2 3 5


  1. ^ "Wrestling at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games: Men's Heavyweight, Freestyle". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  2. ^ Official Olympic Report, la84.org. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b Official Report, p. 716.
  4. ^ a b c d Official Report, p. 736.