Kyle Snyder walks out for his match at the Freestyle World Cup (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
NEW YORK -- In his second consecutive year as a finalist for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award, Ohio State Buckeyes All-American, Kyle Snyder, was crowned America's top amateur athlete during a ceremony at the New York Athletic Club.
"It feels great to win the James E. Sullivan Award this year," said Kyle Snyder, 2018 James E. Sullivan Award winner. "This award represents and symbolizes consistent effort, hard work and a willingness to do more than the normal and average person, and humbling yourself to chase improvement."
An AAU Sullivan Award finalist last year, Snyder earned his third consecutive NCAA heavyweight championship for the Buckeyes. He earned U.S. Male Athlete of the Year and Ohio State Male Athlete of the Year honors and was named an NCAA All-American. Snyder is the Ivan Yarygin gold medalist (97kg) and his 2017 World Championship match was dubbed "Match of the Century," as his win gave USA Wrestling its first team title in 22 years.
Snyder is the fourth wrestler to take home the award and first since Rulon Gardner in 2000, joining earlier honorees John Smith in 1990, and Bruce Baumgartner in 1995. He topped Olympic bronze medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani (figure skating); NCAA champions Kelly Hunter (women's volleyball), Annika Albrecht (women's volleyball), Erin Finn (track and field) and Joel Berry II (men's basketball); and U.S. Equestrian paralympian Annie Peavy (equestrian) for the honor.
"The AAU aims to provide a venue for amateur athletes to promote good sportsmanship and good citizenship for America's youth," said Dr. Roger J. Goudy, President/CEO of the AAU. "The way Kyle carries himself on and off the mat is an inspiration to youth athletes around the world and he is everything we could want as a winner of the AAU James E. Sullivan Award."
Visit www.aausullivan.org for more information about the AAU Sullivan Award.
ABOUT THE AAU JAMES E. SULLIVAN AWARD
The AAU James E. Sullivan Award has been presented annually since 1930 to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. Representatives from the AAU created the AAU Sullivan Award with the intent to recognize amateur contributions and achievements from non-professional athletes across the country. World renowned golfer Robert "Bobby" Jones received the inaugural award and Anne Curtis became the first female to accept the award in 1944. Other notable athletes to win the award include famed Olympians Mark Spitz (1971), Carl Lewis (1981), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1986) and Michael Phelps (2003). Former UCLA basketball star Bill Walton (1973) and University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning (1997) have also earned the prestigious honor.