The singlet…the modern uniform and arguably the most recognizable aspect of amateur wrestling (folkstyle, freestyle, and greco-roman). However, the sport may be getting a new look in the coming years, which may not include the iconic one-piece.
Ever since the IOC (International Olympic Committee) announced the removal of wrestling from the 2020 Olympics in February of last year, it sparked a wildfire of wrestlers, fans, and supporters from across the globe. It also shook up the governing body of FILA ( Fédération Internationale des Luttes Associées or International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles), who replaced their president and started to put forth proposals to help “modernize” the sport as well as make it more appealing to the masses.
Some proposed changes include modifications to the scoring system to award more aggressive wrestlers and prevent long boring matches prevailed by clinching. A different mat color to appeal better to television viewers, is another proposal. A few ideas come from MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) including, but not limited to flashy lights, entrance music, and…gasp…no singlets!
The thought of no singlets in wrestling is not a new idea. The idea has been floating around for much of the past decade. Many former wrestlers have vocalized the need to update the uniform for the 21st Century or eliminate it all together. The reasoning behind the notion is to attract more athletes to the sport. Many complain the uniform is too revealing, embarrassing, or just plain silly looking. Now with the recent scare with the IOC it seems there is only more fuel for the fire to do away with the singlet.
As we all know wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the world. The uniform was far from modest in the beginning. Loin cloths were common but in the Olympic games men wrestled in the nude to prevent woman from participating in the sport. Since ancient times the clothing of choice for the sport has varied from the nude to undergarments to tights.
What we know today as modern organized wrestling started wool or cotton trunks for brief time but switched to full length tights with an outside trunk or supporter. High school and collegiate and international wrestlers wore this standard attire starting in the 1920’s and overall in the 1930’s. Shirtless wrestlers was also a very common aspect of the uniform. As time went on some schools went on to adapt a shirt or jersey to the uniform, the classic “shirts vs skins”. According to the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) the ruling about whether wrestlers should wear shirts or skins at a wrestling meet was left to the decision of the hosting school.
In the 1960’s the singlet started to make an appearance at the Olympics. However, according the the NCAA the singlet was not allowed at all collegiate and scholastic level competitions, but instead adopted the standard three piece uniform. In fact, the singlet was not allowed in all competitions until 1970 when it became the standard attire.
Now the singlet. The singlet itself has undergone many changes over the years, from short legged to mid thigh length, to the modern FILA, high, low, and more recently super low cuts. Polyester to lycra the singlet has changed in style almost as many times as fashion in the decades.
In the past few years the singlet has gained widespread attention in the gay community with singlets becoming part of a erotic fetish market. People using the singlet to fulfill certain sexual fantasies and making the singlet sexy again. Though one could argue that the singlet never stopped being sexy.
Even several companies known for their swimwear have been touting singlets as the next big swim fashion for men, more so in Australia and Europe.
Finally, on a personal note, I myself love singlets. Many of you who have followed me on Facebook know that I have a slight fetish for wrestling and fight gear. I like the way singlets look and feel. I use singlets for multiple things besides wrestling. I have used them for costumes, biking, running, lounging, weight lifting, and sleeping. Not too mention that singlets show off the goods, if you know what I mean. However, I do understand the need for wrestling to adapt and change if it wants to still be considered a relevant sport in today’s schools and global domain of competitive sports. I myself don’t want the singlets to go away from wrestling, but I also want the sport to survive and flourish for another century, and if that means the uniform has to change then so be it. I wouldn’t mind seeing the shorts used in REAL PRO WRESTLING to become the new standard. Or hell lets just go back to nude lol.
And so my fans concludes another blog here at SINGLETS AND STUFF. Let me know what you think of the possible changes in store for our favorite sport. What do you think should and should not change? Would you be sad to see the singlet erased from wrestling? Any older readers wrestlers remember the tights or three piece uniforms?
Fight on my fans!