Kyle Snyder runs around the mat with the American flag draped around him (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)The precocious 19-year-old was wrestling for a World championship in his home country, and he believed it was his time to be a World champion.
It didn't matter that he came up short of winning an NCAA title in March, or that no U.S. wrestler under the age of 21 had ever won a World championship in freestyle wrestling.
In front of a sellout crowd at the Orleans Arena, with the crowd chanting USA, Snyder toppled defending World champion Abdusalam Gadisov from Russia in the gold-medal match at 97 kilos to become the youngest American to ever win a World title in freestyle wrestling.
"I like making history," said Snyder. "I want to be known as one of the greatest wrestlers ever to live. That's what I plan on doing."
Gadisov scored the first point of the match off the shot clock to go up 1-0 just over two minutes into the match. At the end of the period Snyder drove Gadisov out of bounds for a point, and the match was tied 1-1 at the break. Snyder picked up a takedown 19 seconds into the second period to go up 3-1. But the Russian quickly responded with a takedown of his own to make it 3-3. Gadisov then was able to get a step-out point to go up 4-3. With just over 20 seconds left in the match Snyder converted a leg attack into a takedown to go up 5-4. Gadisov kept the pressure on and was able to get another step-out point late in the match, which made the score 5-5. Snyder led on the criteria of having more two-point moves. Gadisov kept attacking, but Snyder held on for the victory.
Kyle Snyder gets in on a shot against Abdusalam Gadisov of Russia (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)"A lot of time goes into something like this," said Snyder. "Guys like Gadisov and the other guys in my bracket are a big reason why I'm where I'm at today. I appreciate them and I know that without them pushing me to become a wrestler I never would have done this."
Before enrolling at Ohio State, Snyder spent his senior year of high school in 2013-14 at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs training freestyle exclusively.
"I tell people all the time, if you have the opportunity to do that, that's what you should do," said Snyder of the experience. "I got the chance to wrestle overseas a couple times, get a couple foreign feels, along with wrestling some of the best Americans that we have to offer and getting some of the best coaches."
Snyder is a multiple-time Junior World medalist. He was a Junior World champion in 2013. Snyder was eligible to wrestle at the Junior World Championships this year, but instead chose to focus on the senior level.
"Focusing strictly on the seniors was just as fun because I love the training," said Snyder. "I love the process of becoming a better wrestler. It was a great summer of wrestling. It felt good to cap it off with a win."
Snyder, who finished as an NCAA runner-up as a true freshman at Ohio State, will take an Olympic redshirt in 2015-16. He plans to return to Ohio State after the Olympic Games.
"If I can wrestle the best guys in the world then I should be able to go to class a couple times a day," said Snyder.
Leigh Jaynes-Provisor gets her hand raised after winning a World bronze medal (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)Leigh Jaynes-Provisor claimed the bronze medal at 60 kilos in women's freestyle wrestling with a 4-2 victory over Irina Petr Netreba of Azerbaijan. Netreba scored first, getting a two-point exposure in the first period and led 2-0 at the break. Jaynes-Provisor picked up a takedown just under 30 seconds into the second period to make the score 2-2. In the final 30 seconds, Netreba was able to get a takedown off a shot and for a moment take a 4-2 lead until Jaynes-Provisor used a crotch lift to gain two exposure points, which made the score 4-4, but gave the American the victory on criteria.
Jaynes-Provisor talked about the support of her family, specifically her husband Ben Provisor, a 2012 Olympian in Greco-Roman wrestling.
"I know that Ben will never lie to me, and he told me that I had the ability to do this," Jaynes-Provisor said. "I believed him because he is brutally honest sometimes."
Jaynes-Provisor's lone loss in Las Vegas came in the semifinals when she lost by fall in 18 seconds to eventual gold medalist Oksana Herhel of Ukraine. She knew she had to let the loss go immediately.
"If I held on to that loss too long I wasn't going to be able to go back out there and win this medal that I have right now," said Jaynes-Provisor.
Jaynes-Provisor is a captain of the U.S. Army, a wife and a mother. The Provisor's daughter Evelyn is 2 years old.
"She gives me a ton of perspective," Jaynes-Provisor said of her daughter. "She loves me no matter what. That allows me to find joy in what I'm doing. Every moment that I'm away from her it gives me a purpose to go out there and make everybody count."
Jaynes-Provisor was the final U.S. women's freestyle wrestler to compete in Las Vegas and becomes the third U.S. woman to earn a medal at this year's World Championships, joining World champions Helen Maroulis and Adeline Gray. Her bronze-medal victory put Team USA in third place in the final team standings for women's freestyle. Japan finished first with 51 points, followed by China. The U.S. finished with 31 points, edging Azerbaijan by two points for the bronze medal.
"For us to be third in our country at the World Championships I think is very important," said U.S. women's freestyle coach Steiner. "It's very important for our people to see that we have a program that can compete and can be in that mix. To do that at home is special."
Nineteen-year-old Abdulrashid Sadulaev of Russia won his second straight World title (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)Abdulrashid Sadulaev of Russia (86 kilos) and Haji Aliyev (61 kilos) of Azerbaijan both repeated as World champions on Friday night. The 19-year-old Sadulaev blanked Selim Yasar of Turkey 6-0 in the gold-medal match. Aliyev won by 10-0 technical superiorty over Nomin Batbold of Mongolia.
In women's freestyle, Oksana Herhel of Ukraine defeated Tserenchim Sukhee of Mongolia 10-7 in the gold-medal match at 60 kilos. Sukhee was looking to win a second consecutive World title.
U.S. freestyle wrestlers Tony Ramos (57 kilos), James Green (70 kilos), Jordan Burroughs (74 kilos) and Zack Rey (125 kilos) are scheduled to compete on Saturday, which is the final day of the World Championships in Las Vegas.
Day 5 (Friday) Medalists
Gold: Haji Aliyev (Azerbaijan)
Silver: Nomin Batbold (Mongolia)
Bronze: Vladimir Dubov (Bulgaria)
Bronze: Vasyl Shuptar (Ukraine)
Gold: Abdulrashid Sadulaev (Russia)
Silver: Selim Yasar (Turkey)
Bronze: Sandro Aminashvili (Georgia)
Bronze: Alireza Karimimachiani (Iran)
Gold: Kyle Snyder (USA)
Silver: Abdusalam Gadisov (Russia)
Bronze: Khetag Gazumov (Azerbaijan)
Bronze: Pablo Oliinyk (Ukraine)
Gold: Oksana Herhel (Ukraine)
Silver: Tserenchim Sukhee (Mongolia)
Bronze: Dzhanan Manolova (Bulgaria)
Bronze: Leigh Jaynes-Provisor (USA)