Captain America is leaving Columbus.
One of the most decorated athletes in Ohio State's storied history, Kyle Snyder won three NCAA wrestling titles, two World freestyle championships and an Olympic gold medal during his time in Scarlet and Gray.
His path to a second Olympic medal, however, will wind through State College, Pennsylvania, as he announced via Twitter on Thursday that he will move from the Ohio Regional Training Center to the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club.
Thank you. pic.twitter.com/MgujR7Awti— Kyle Snyder (@Snyder_man45) October 10, 2019
Snyder seemed firmly ensconced in Central Ohio after graduating from Ohio State, with major endorsements from local sponsors such as Rogue Fitness and Rudis. But after failing to win gold in each of the past two World Freestyle Championships, he decided a change in his training environment was needed.
At the 2018 World Championships, Snyder was stunned by a first-period fall in a rematch with Russian phenom Abdulrashid Sadulaev, finishing with just a silver medal for the first time as a senior world-team member. Last month's World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan didn't go even that well: Snyder lost to fellow Olympic champion Sharif Sharifov of Azerbaijan in the semifinals and came home with bronze.
Questions from critics on social media circled after Sadulaev indicated in a video he thought Snyder was too focused on strength training to defeat him next summer at the Olympics in Tokyo.
Snyder seems to be taking that threat seriously, uprooting himself from what has been an incredibly successful situation for the past five years.
“As wrestlers, this sport is about exhausting yourself of all options to increase your likelihood of improvement,” Snyder told USA Wrestling's Taylor Miller. “Ohio State is one of the best places you can go as a recruit and as an RTC athlete to train, but I think the change of scenery and the change of eyes on me with the different training partners and coaches that I can have at the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club is going to put me at ease at least knowing that I tried that option. I’m not the type of guy that is afraid to make difficult decisions, and I don’t want to look back at my career and say I didn’t do something because of public perception and their reactions. Right now, I know that I’m supposed to be a wrestler, and I’m putting my heart into that. This is where my heart is leading me.”
Miller noted that Snyder will join several of his World Team teammates in the Penn State wrestling room, including 2018 World champion David Taylor (86 kg), two-time Senior World Team member Zain Retherford (65 kg) and 2019 U23 World Team member Bo Nickal (92 kg), as well as 2012 Olympic champion Jake Varner, the man Snyder defeated en route to world-team spots in 2015 and 2016.