Journal of Community Health

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 61–67 | Cite as

Life Expectancy of Olympic Wrestling Champions in Comparison to the General Population

  • Karsten KellerEmail author
Original Paper


Although it was presumed that moderate exercise is a healthy practice but long term high intensity exercise is not, studies observed a life expectancy benefit for both high-intensity endurance and fast power sports athlets, but the data for contact sports are conflicting. Therefore, the author aimed to investigate the life expectancy of Olympic wrestling champions in comparison to the general population. Characteristics, vital status and life-span of the male Olympic wrestling champions was collected (1896–2016). The life expectancy of Olympic champions was compared with matched individuals of the general population (by country, age, and year of birth) obtained from the human mortality database ( Overall, 341 male Olympic wrestling champions with median age of 25 (IQR 24–28) years at their Olympic victory were included in this analysis. In total, 142 (41.6%) came of rich countries. The survival was not affected by weight class and country of origin. A significant life expectancy benefit for Olympic champions in comparison to the general population was observed. Male Olympic wrestling champions lived in mean 19.1 ± 19.1 years longer than the matched individuals of the general population (respectively of their country of origin). A substantially lower mortality in male Olympic wrestling champions, compared with the general male population was observed. However, the results do not allow us to draw conclusions about the causes of this survival benefit.


Olympic champion Wrestling Life expectancy Wrestler Olympia 



Interquartile range



This study was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF 01EO1003 and BMBF 01EO1503) as an institutional Grant for the Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis (University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany). The author is responsible for the contents of this publication.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10900_2018_553_MOESM1_ESM.docx (12 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 11 KB)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis (CTH)University Medical Center Mainz (Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz)MainzGermany
  2. 2.Center of Cardiology, Cardiology IUniversity Medical Center Mainz (Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz)MainzGermany
  3. 3.Team Doctor of the German Bundesliga Club 1. FSV Mainz 05 in the Soccer Season 2014/2015MainzGermany

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