It was just over six months ago that Kyle Snyder walked off of the mat at the NCAA wrestling tournament filled with disappointment. He had just lost the national final and the loss came in spectacular fashion. A lesser wrestler might have fallen into a rut. He might have allowed in the loss to stick with him for a few months. It would have been perfectly understandable. That's not what Snyder did, though. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he got back to work. Now just a half of a year later, the 19-year-old Snyder is the youngest world champion in the history of American freestyle wrestling.
Competing against the best against the world, Snyder never appeared overwhelmed or anxious. He appeared prepared. Heading into the final, Snyder's first match was his closest of the tournament, a 2-1 win over Pablo Oliinyk of Ukraine. He would follow that up with 8-0 and 11-1 wins over Poland's Radoslaw Baran and Venezuela's Jose Diaz respectively. Snyder earned his spot in the finals when he beat Iran's Abbas Tahran 6-3 in a thrilling semifinal.
Standing across from Snyder in the final was returning World Champion Abdusalam Gadisov of Russia. The Russian was the h favorite going into the match, but Snyder wasn't deterred. He fought Gadisov tooth and nail, trading takedowns and pushouts with the 26-year-old Russian, and ultimately prevailing by criteria (5-5 final score).
At the age of 19 Kyle Snyder has earned the right to call himself the best 97kg wrestler in the world. He is the youngest American freestyle wrestler (at any weight) to be able to say that. The scary part is, with his decision to sit out the 2015 Ohio State wrestling season to prepare for the 2016 Olympics, you can't help but feel like he's just getting started.