SPORTS

Wrestling Is Oldest Sport: Columbia Presents Wrestling Hall Of Fame With Ancient Manual (VIDEO)

10/20/2011 02:20 pm ET | Updated Dec 20, 2011

Many sports claim to be the greatest or the most popular as they vie for participants and spectators who are inundated with so many choices. Yet these designations shift by the season and vary over distance. They also change over time. With tastes and technology always changing the games we watch and play there may never be anything close to an international consensus on what sport is king -- unless, of course, Americans ever embrace soccer.

But there may be no more need to debate which sport is the oldest.

On Tuesday, Columbia University presented the National Wrestling Hall of Fame with a replica of a 2,000-year-old piece of papyrus containing rudimentary instructions, in Greek, about how to wrestle. Fittingly, the school with oldest wrestling program in the country was able to host the presentation and share this treasure with the wrestling community.

"It's scientific proof, once again, that wrestling is the oldest sport," said Lee Roy Smith, executive director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Amazing to many is the relevance that the instructions in this ancient manual to the present-day version of the sport.

"It was describing wrestling like I would tell an athlete I'm coaching, marveled Bruce Baumgartner, a four-time Olympic medalist in wrestling.

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