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Wrestler Kyle Snyder Takes Silver In Rematch With Rival

By Karen Price | Aug. 07, 2021, 10:51 a.m. (ET)

Kyle Snyder competes at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Aug. 6, 2021 in Chiba, Japan.


Wrestlers Kyle Snyder and Abdulrashid Sadulaev wrote another chapter in one of the most famous rivalries in the sport Saturday, squaring off in the 97 kg. final in Tokyo.

In the end, “Snyderlaev III” ended with Snyder adding Olympic silver to the gold he won in 2016. The “Russian Tank,” as Sadulaev is known, bumped his record against Snyder to 2-1 with the 6-3 victory. Sadulaev, who moved up a weight class to challenge Snyder back in 2017, led early on and held on for his second Olympic gold medal after winning the 86 kg. class in 2016.

“There are definitely some positions that I have got to get better in,” Snyder said afterward. “That is what I’m thinking about. I have got to finish those attacks, so that is what I’m going to do.”

Snyder wasn’t the only U.S. athlete to medal on the final day of wrestling at the Games. Sarah Hildebrandt, 27, won the bronze medal in the women’s 50 kg. class 12-1 by technical superiority, taking down Ukraine’s Oksana Livach. She was the ninth U.S. wrestler to medal on a team of 18, as the program finished with three golds, two silvers and four bronze medals across Greco-Roman, men’s freestyle and women’s freestyle. The nine total medals led the field, and wrestling will finish third on the U.S. medal table from Tokyo behind swimming and track and field. 

Sarah Hildebrandt poses at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Aug. 7, 2021 in Chiba, Japan.


It’s the most medals won by U.S. wrestlers since Los Angeles in 1984, when Russia did not participate, and triple the number of medals won in Rio in 2016. 

“Guys are getting better and better,” Snyder said of the growth of U.S. wrestling. “Everybody is doing the right stuff. We have great coaches, support staff and training environments. I’m really happy for all my teammates who did a great job here, and all the coaches because they work so hard. I think we’re going to dominate and keep getting better.”

Snyder was just 20 years old when he won the Olympic gold medal in 2016. He and Sadulaev wrestled for the first time in the gold-medal match at the 2017 world championships, which Snyder won. The rematch came at the following year’s world championships, which Sadulaev won with a pin just one minute, 12 seconds into the match. He hasn’t lost since. 

Snyder lost in the semifinals at the 2019 world championships, delaying round three for what everyone assumed would be a year until Tokyo in 2020. 

After Saturday’s loss, Snyder was already looking ahead to the next time.

“Lord willing, I will be at the world championships (in October),” he said. “(Facing Sadulaev) is still exciting. I love competition, I love wrestling, and I’m thankful to be able to compete. I’d love (an opportunity to wrestle him again)."

Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020? Visit TeamUSA.org/Tokyo2020 to view the medal table, results and competition schedule.

Karen Price

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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