Gable Steveson poses during the men's freestyle 125 kg medal ceremony at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 6, 2021 in Chiba, Japan.
In the weeks since winning his historic wrestling gold medal at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Gable Steveson has weighed plenty of options for the next step in his career. Steveson officially took that step Thursday in signing a multiyear deal with WWE.
But bad news for the rest of the Big Ten: Steveson is coming back for his senior season to defend his national championship.
The 21-year-old from Apple Valley, Minnesota, will return to the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers under the terms of the NCAA’s new name, image and likeness (NIL) policy that allows athletes to earn money as a student athlete. The contract, the first of its kind for the WWE, will allow Steveson to begin training with WWE coaches while attending Minnesota. Then once he graduates, he’ll be a full-time pro wrestler.
“Childhood dream accomplished..,” Steveson posted on Twitter. “I have officially signed with the @WWE!!! Thank you for the opportunity!! LETS WORK.”
Childhood dream accomplished.. I have officially signed with the @WWE!!! Thank you for the opportunity!! LETS WORK 💪🏽— Gable Steveson (@GableSteveson) September 9, 2021
Steveson will join the WWE ranks with his brother Bobby, who signed a deal with WWE last month. The brothers grew up in Apple Valley as wrestling fas, and both went on to wrestle at Minnesota wrestling powerhouse Apple Valley High School before going on to Minnesota. The brothers aren’t the first Golden Gopher wrestlers to take their talents to WWE, as Brock Lesnar joined the promotion shortly after winning the 2000 NCAA title.
Steveson is a two-time defending Big Ten champion at 285 pounds and in March won his first national title. Steveson earned the Hodge Trophy as the nation’s top wrestler for a season in which he went 17-0. Just days later, Steveson won the U.S. Olympic Team Trials to book his place at the Games. In Tokyo, Steveson scored a thrilling comeback victory over three-time defending world champ Geno Petriashvilli to earn the first U.S. super heavyweight gold medal since 1992.