Kyle Snyder competes in his semifinal match at the World Wrestling Championships on Oct. 22, 2018 in Budapest, Hungary.
Last year it was “The Match of the Century.”
This year it was “Snyderlaev II.”
Unfortunately for Team USA’s Kyle Snyder, the rematch didn’t end the way he’d hoped.
Snyder and Russia’s Abdulrashid Sadulaev met one another Tuesday in the 97 kg. gold-medal bout in the most anticipated matchup this far at the 2018 World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Just 1:12 into the match, however, the referee called the pin after Sadulaev got Snyder on his back to claim victory.
Snyder took the silver medal in the final match of the men’s freestyle competition. It was the former Ohio State standout’s first loss in Olympic or world championships competition.
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Both Snyder and Sadulaev were Olympic champions and two-time world champions coming into the rematch. Last year Sadulaev moved up a weight class to challenge Snyder and, in the dramatic final match of the 2017 world championships, Snyder scored late to not only win the gold medal but also give the U.S. a one-point lead over Russia for the team title as well. It was Team USA’s first world team title in wrestling since 1995.
The U.S. entered Tuesday’s medal matches with three gold and three bronze medals to lead the way at the competition. Russia was second with two gold, one silver and two bronze. Had Snyder won, it would have marked the first time since 1995 that the U.S. men won four freestyle world titles in one year.
The world championships continue through Oct. 28 with women’s freestyle and men’s Greco-Roman competition.
Snyder in 2015 became the youngest U.S. wrestler to win a world title, and one year later he became the youngest American to win an Olympic gold medal in the sport. Now 22, his road to the silver medal included victories over Mongolia’s Baasanjargal Ulziisaikhan, 8-3; American Samoa’s Nathaniel Tuifao Tuamoheloa by technical fall, 10-0; Italy’s Abraham De Jesus Conyedo Ruano, 11-2; and Hungary’s Pavlo Oliinyk, 3-0; before falling his rematch with the man known as “The Russian Tank.”
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.