In summary, winning wrestlers had higher Tes values postcompetition than losers did as has been previously reported (12). Cortisol and Epi were not different between groups, indicating no difference in stress or physical exertion. Epinephrine responses to competition were strongly correlated with Tes responses in the losers. These relationships were not present in the winners, indicating different mechanisms in Tes regulation in these groups.
Undoubtedly, success in the sport of wrestling is highly dependent on factors such as physical mastery of wrestling skills, physiological preparation, and mental skills training. What has not been fully appreciated is the critical role of establishing social dominance in this sport. These data clearly indicate that winning and losing wrestlers use different physiological mechanisms for the acute endocrine response to competition. Based on data from the animal kingdom, winning wrestlers appear to establish a mechanism conducive to future success and long-term survival as a wrestler. In summary, the ability to foster an aggressive demeanor and a social dominance on the wrestling mat may be highly dependent on previous success and the accompanying physiological responses and adaptations. As such, scheduling of appropriate opponents may be critical for establishing an enhanced wrestling social dominance to facilitate future success.
The authors would like to thank Rich Lorenzo, John Fritz, and John Yankanich for their gracious assistance with the design and implementation of this study. Additionally, we would like to thank N. Travis Triplett, Scott E. Gordon, L. Perry Koziris, and Steven J. Fleck for assistance with the data collection. This study was funded by a grant from the US Olympic Committee.
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