In a little over a month, wrestling will take center stage at the London 2012 Olympic Games. You’re probably just as anxious as we are to see how Team USA stacks up against the rest of the world, and can’t wait for the matches to get started. To help make it easier for you to follow all the thrilling action, we’ve put together some fast facts about the event dates and format.

  • Dates: August 5-12
  • Venue: ExCeL (Exhibition Center London)
  • Total number of medal events: 18—Seven for Greco-Roman, seven for Men’s Freestyle, and four for Women’s Freestyle.
  • Number of athletes: 344. Currently, 16 men and women are slated to represent the USA in red, white, and blue wrestling gear, with one more spot up for grabs.
  • Olympic History: Greco-Roman bouts began in 1896; Men’s Freestyle was added in 1904; and the Women’s Freestyle bracket was created in 2004.
  • Mat measurements: 12m x 12m, with a 9m combat circle in the center.
  • Competition format: Direct elimination in each weight class; losers enter the repechage for a shot at the bronze medal.
  • Match times: Three periods of two minutes each, with a “golden score” period in Freestyle events if no winner has been determined after the third period.
  • Officials: Each bout will be monitored by a referee, a judge, and a mat chairman. Two of the three officials must agree about falls and points for the decisions to stand.

Now that you know where, when, and how the 2012 Olympic wrestling matches will unfold, all that’s left to do is count down the days until August 5 and then tune in to watch Team USA bring home some medals.