By Karen Price | Sept. 22, 2019, 11:57 a.m. (ET)

Kyle Snyder competing in the 97 kg. bronze-medal match at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships on Sept. 22, 2019 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

 

Reigning Olympic champion Kyle Snyder suffered a surprising defeat in the semifinals at the World Wrestling Championships, but he isn’t going home empty-handed.

Wrestling for something other than gold in an Olympic or world meet for the first time in his career, Snyder defeated Georgia’s Elizbar Odikadze, 5-0, to win the bronze medal at 97 kg. in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

Snyder didn’t know who his opponent would be until the repechage matches on Sunday, and in Odikadze he faced a familiar foe. Snyder’s comeback against Odikadze in the semifinals at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 led to his spot in the final and, eventually, the gold medal.

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The 23-year-old from Woodbine, Maryland, forced a step-out and then earned two points on a low double leg shot takedown in the first period, and that lead would hold the remainder of the match. With the win, Snyder secured a world or Olympic medal for the fifth year in a row.

Snyder won the world title in 2015 and 2017 and then won silver in 2018 after losing to fellow Olympic gold medalist Abdulrashid Sadulaev of Russia in the gold-medal match. He was hoping to reclaim gold at this year’s meet, but lost in the semifinal bout to Olympic bronze medalist Sharif Sharifov of Azerbaijan, 5-2. Snyder took a 1-0 lead but then fell behind and could not recover.

By reaching the semifinals, however, the three-time NCAA champion for Ohio State did ensure that the U.S. would have a spot at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in the weight class. 

Snyder dominated for the first two rounds of competition, defeating Mausam Khatri of India, 10-0, and Magomed Idrisovitch Ibragimov of Uzbekistan, 13-3.

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.