According to Britannica.com, "no sport is older or more widely distributed than wrestling, often in highly local styles that have persisted to the present day." Wrestling probably originated in hand-to-hand combat. Works of art from 3000 BCE depict belt wrestling in Babylonia and Egypt, and the Sumerian Gilgamesh epic has a description of such wrestling.
Bob Dellinger, Director Emeritus at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, describes when wrestling's development reached high points in both Egypt and Greece. He says "in Egypt, [where] paintings of wrestlers dating to approximately 2500 B.C. have been found in lavish tombs of kings and other high officials." "Wrestling was the most popular event in the ancient Greek Games, and lists of Olympic wrestling winners have been recorded since 708 B.C."
On Olympics.com, wrestling is described as being "recognized as the world’s oldest competitive sport." The sport's Olympic debut was in Athens, Greece in 1896.