Kyle Snyder earned another accolade this week, becoming only the second wrestler in history to win the John Smith Award three times. The award, named for the six-time world-level champion wrestler turned Oklahoma State coaching legend, recognizes the top freestyle wrestler in the country.
Snyder joins U.S. World Team teammate Jordan Burroughs as the only three-time winners in the award's history. Snyder has held the award each of the past three years (2015, 2016 and 2017), while Burroughs did so from 2011-2013.
Snyder was the 2017 World champion at 97 kg in men's freestyle wrestling, winning his gold medal at the World Championships in Paris, France. In the championship finals, Snyder won what was dubbed within wrestling the “Match of the Century,” defeating Olympic champion and two-time World champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev of Russia in the World finals,
Snyder’s win gave the USA the World Team title over Russia by one team point, the first World Team title in freestyle wrestling for the USA in 22 years, going back to the 1995 World Championships in Atlanta, Ga.
It was the third straight World or Olympic gold medal for Snyder, who was a 2015 World champion and 2016 Olympic champion.
Internationally in 2017, Snyder won the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in Russia in January, the first U.S. men’s winner in that prestigious event since 2009. He also won gold medals at the Pan American Championships in Salvador, Brazil in May and the Grand Prix of Spain in Madrid, Spain in July.
The Maryland native won his first world title at the Junior World Championships in 2013, and added a junior world bronze in 2014. He has won the world or Olympic title at the senior level each year since 2015, and secured his fourth Senior World Team spot in as many years last weekend in Lincoln, Neb., at Final X.
In 2017, Snyder was named U.S. Male Olympic Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee, was named Ohio State University's Male Athlete of the Year and was also a Dan Hodge Trophy finalist. He won his third and final NCAA heavyweight title at the 2018 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Cleveland.