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Who is... Kyle Snyder

Kyle Snyder
Mitchell Haaseth/NBC Sports

Who is... Kyle Snyder

Already the United States' youngest-ever world champion, Kyle Snyder hopes to add Olympic gold to his hardware collection.

Name: Kyle Snyder
Country: United States
Age: 20
Weight class: Men's freestyle, 97kg (214 lbs)


  • 2016 undefeated NCAA champion (11-0 record)
  • Ranked #2 in the world at 97kg by United World Wrestling (previously #1)
  • 2015 World Championships gold medalist
  • Youngest American to win a world title (19 years old)
  • 2015 Pan American Games champion
  • 2015 U.S. Open champion
  • 2015 NCAA runner-up
  • Three-time Maryland high school state champion (179-0 record)

Kyle Snyder at 2015 World Championships

In 2015, a 19-year-old Kyle Snyder became the youngest American wrestler ever to win a world title. Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports

Olympic history: Snyder has not previously competed at an Olympic Games.

Olympic outlook: At U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Snyder qualified for Rio by defeating 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner 2-1 in a best-of-three series. As the defending world champion and one of the world's top-ranked wrestlers at 97kg, Snyder will be in the mix for a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games.

How he got started in wrestling: "I spent most of my time [as a kid] playing with my older brother and younger brother. We were all pretty aggressive kids and super competitive, and I wanted to beat my older brother in everything and I couldn't. We'd be downstairs wrestling around and trying to beat each other up, and that's kind of how I fell into wrestling."

Why he stuck with wrestling: "I started wrestling when I was 5 years old, and I really started to fall in love with it in 8th grade. It seems shallow, but I enjoyed this sport the most because it was the one I was the most successful in. Soon that way of thinking about wrestling changed, and now I am just hungry to improve as a wrestler."

On becoming world champion in 2015: "The feeling right after the match is pretty indescribable, because a lot of suffering goes into becoming the best wrestler in the world.  I feel like a lot of time and a lot of effort from a lot of different people is what gets you to that angle.  So, it felt amazing after I got my hand raised, and I was jumping around and screaming and running around with the flag in my back.  But right now, I'd say it feels pretty normal. Just moving onto the next thing."

Kyle Snyder at 2015 World Championships

Kyle Snyder was understandably elated after capturing a world title in 2015. Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports

College: Snyder currently attends Ohio State University, where he is studying sports management. As a true freshman, he was part of Ohio State's first-ever NCAA championship team in 2015, but finished as the runner-up individually in the 197-pound weight class. Snyder removed his Olympic redshirt midway through his sophomore season in 2016 and moved up to the heavyweight (285 lbs) class, where he went 11-0 and won his first NCAA championship.

Training regimen: "I wake up at 7:30, then either wrestle or lift weights in the morning, with short conditioning after. I go back to work out at 2:30 and wrestle every afternoon. I take the weekends off and listen to my body: If I need another workout, I will work out, but if I need to recover, then I will recover. My daily goals are to just improve as a wrestler and person every day."

Nutrition: "Usually I'll make my own breakfast and lunch at my apartment. Typically a protein shake in the morning with granola. Then usually a sandwich in the afternoon. For dinner, I almost always get Chipotle."

Thoughts on training for the Olympics: "It is as hard as you think it is, but the reward is worth every second of suffering."

Kyle Snyder vs. Nick Gwiazdowski, 2016 NCAA Championships

In a match considered one of the greatest ever in college wrestling, Snyder (grey) defeated North Carolina State's Nick Gwiazdowski (red) to claim the 2016 NCAA heavyweight championship. Credit: Getty Images

Greatest influence: 2012 Olympic wrestler Tervel Dlagnev: "He is my closest training partner and friend, and we have grown together in the sport for a long time now."

Favorite TV shows: Seinfeld, SportsCenter, cooking shows

Hidden talent: "I can walk on my hands for a very long time."

Social media
Twitter: @Snyder_man45
Instagram: @snyderman45

Who is...

Learn about some of the top wrestlers heading to Rio 2016:

Andy Bisek (USA) | Jordan Burroughs (USA) | Adeline Gray (USA) | Helen Maroulis (USA) | Kyle Snyder (USA)

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