Kyle Snyder competes during the 97kg class semifinal of the 2021 World Freestyle Wrestling Championships on Oct. 4, 2021 in Oslo, Norway.
Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder may not have gotten the best of Russian rival Abdulrashid Sadulaev, but he’s still coming home from the World Wrestling Championships in Oslo, Norway, with a silver medal.
Also returning with silver is 2020 Olympian Kayla Miracle and Jenna Burkert is coming home with the bronze as women’s freestyle action got underway Tuesday.
Matches between Snyder and Sadulaev have become the stuff of wrestling legend in recent years. Snyder won the first bout between the two at the 2017 world championship finals, and then Sadualaev turned the tables in 2018. The two met most recently in the gold-medal matchup of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, where Sadulaev once again got the upper hand and became Olympic champion while Snyder took the silver medal to go along with his gold from 2016.
Both wrestlers were warned for passivity within the first 90 seconds of Tuesday’s 97 kg. bout, and it was Sadulaev who got the first point with Snyder on the clock with just about a minute remaining in the half. He held that 1-0 lead until the last two minutes, when he added another point via the shot clock then raced ahead with a takedown and a turn to make it 6-0 with just over a minute left. With no other points scored, Snyder’s silver concluded the men’s freestyle portion of the world championships.
The U.S. finished second in the team standings with 168 points behind Russia with 173. Iran was third with 162 points.
One of the first women’s medals to be contested was for bronze at 55 kg. Burkert was pulled back into Tuesday’s repechage, won that matchup then faced India’s Pinki for the medal. Burkert scored on a step out and took a 2-0 lead with Pinki on the shot clock. Another step out and a go-behind takedown and Burkert held a 5-0 lead with a minute left. Pinki got on the board with a takedown, but Burkert finished with a 5-2 victory.
Miracle had a tough opponent in 2019 world champion and 2020 Olympic silver medalist Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan in the 62 kg. class. Tynybekova took a 1-0 lead into the break on a shot clock point and, despite a challenge from the U.S., she got another two points in a scramble and moved ahead to a 4-0 lead. Tynybekova ended with a 7-0 victory and Miracle claimed her first world medal.
While men’s freestyle action concluded on Tuesday, the women’s is just heating up. Coming up on Wednesday, Olympic bronze medalist Sarah Hildebrandt will get her shot at a title with a spot in the 50 kg. gold-medal bout, Adeline Gray will wrestle for her sixth world title — which would make her the first U.S. wrestler ever to win that many — at 76 kg. and Forrest Molinari will go for bronze at 65 kg.