A wrestling singlet (or simply singlet) is a one-piece, tight-fitting, colored uniform, usually made of spandex/lycra, or nylon, used in amateur wrestling. The uniform is tight fitting so as not to get grasped accidentally by one's opponent, and allows the referee to see each wrestler's body clearly when awarding points or a pin. Unlike judo, it is illegal to grasp an opponent's clothing in all styles of amateur wrestling.
Look of a singlet
Outside school competition (e.g., in international wrestling: freestyle and Greco-Roman) wrestlers bring a red and a blue singlet (or reversible singlet) and are told before the match which color to wear.
Singlets are also common among professional wrestlers (such as Bret Hart, Kurt Angle, and Rob Van Dam). Many of these are much more stylized than those worn by amateurs, although the use of singlets in professional wrestling has declined in the last two decades.
The singlet did not become common in college wrestling until the late 1960s and early 1970s; in fact, it had been banned by the NCAA for years. Shirtless uniforms, including trunks and tights, were common until the NCAA banned shirtless wrestling in the mid-1960s.
A new style of singlet, known as a double or doublet, has recently emerged in college wrestling that covers more of the upper body. Made of the same Lycra material, this singlet has more of a t-shirt covering than the traditional thin-strap singlet more commonly worn. This type of singlet is usually worn with accompanying tight-fitting shorts. This style of singlet is currently only allowed on the college level, although there is report that some high school wrestlers use this singlet style in practice sessions.
Only with special permission are wrestlers allowed to wear a t-shirt under their singlet, most commonly for sanitary reasons involving excessive acne on the chest or back.
There are three different traditional "cuts" to wrestling singlets: the high cut, the fila cut, and the low cut. The high cut covers most of the chest and reaches up to the under-arms on the side. The fila cut is like the high cut but does not rise up as high beneath the arms. The low cut singlet is a revealing singlet, that allows greater range of mobility, keeps its wearer cooler, tends to be more comfortable when not on the mat (wrestlers tend to wear their singlets under their clothes nearly all day in some circumstances). The low cut reaches down to the middle abdomen in the front, reaches down to the hips on the sides, and features a single strap that runs up the back that is very thin. Low cut singlets can no longer be worn at the Olympics or World Championships. A high cut or Fila cut singlet is required for this level. Generally, low cut singlets are not legal for high school wrestling in the United States and likely will not be legal for off season wrestling in the near future.
In Popular Culture
During a telecast between the Arizona Wildcats and Washington Huskies in Seattle for ESPN color commentator Bill Walton wore a Husky singlet while commentating the game. He and announcer Dave Pasch had practiced with the Washington crew team earlier that day.
- Wrestling shoes
- Wrestling headgear
- Amateur wrestling
- Collegiate wrestling
- Freestyle wrestling
- Greco-Roman wrestling
- Palmer, Mark (2007-10-19), InterMat Rewind: Major Changes, retrieved 2010-11-22
- Wilson, Eric (2005-11-17), "Wrestling With Tradition: Keep Your Shirt On", The New York Times