Update: Kyle Snyder wins gold at Yarygin Grand Prix in Russia, just the 11th USA man to win prestigious event

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Jan. 29, 2017, 5:09 a.m. (ET)
Kyle Snyder of the USA waves to the crowd after winning gold at the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix. Photo by Brent Metcalf.

KRASNOYARSK, Russia – The legend of Kyle Snyder continues to grow.

Already an Olympic and World champion by the age of 20, Snyder has started the new Olympic four-year cycle with a new major accomplishment, winning the gold medal at the prestigious Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix on Sunday at 97 kg/213 lbs.

In the final match of the tournament, with a large crowd supporting his opponent, Snyder powered back from a second-period deficit to pin Rasul Magomedov of Russia at the 5:02 mark.

Snyder led the match 1-0 after the first period when Magomedov was put on the shot clock and was unable to score. Early in the second period, Magomedov powered back, scoring a takedown and a quick two-point turn to take a 4-1 lead over Snyder.

That is when Snyder kicked it into another gear. He scored two straight single leg takedowns for a 5-4 lead, then forced a stepout for a 6-4 lead. During the ensuing scramble as Magomedov tried to force things, Snyder drove the Russian to his back and scored the pin.

Only 11 U.S. men have ever won this event. The last American men’s freestyle champion was Steve Mocco at 120kg/264 lbs. in 2009. All 11 of the winners were Olympians during their career. Snyder becomes the fifth Olympic champion from the United States to also have won the Yarygin Grand Prix, joining Dave Schultz, Kendall Cross, Tom Brands and Kurt Angle.

"The Ivan Yarygin has been for many years, and still is, the toughest open tournament in the world. Only 11 US men have won here, which goes to show the nature of this accomplishment. Kyle continues to improve his wrestling and he wrestled a great tournament today. I'm encouraged we have someone leading the charge for us as we want to develop several athletes to become champions at this marquee event," said National Freestyle Coach Bill Zadick.

Organizers put the foreign wrestlers in the top half of the bracket, and all the Russians in the bottom half of the bracket. Magomedov had survived a tough field of Russians to earn the spot in the finals. Magomedov had won three previous international events held in Russia during his young career, the Alarosa Cup, the Ali Aliev Tournament and the Intercontinental Cup.

Snyder was in the top bracket, one of eight non-Russians in the field. As expected, Snyder powered through his half-bracket, winning three straight matches by technical fall. He opened with an 11-0 win over Chaganxhana of China. The quarterfinal victim was Munkhzhargal Belgutei of Mongolia, who went down 11-1. In the semifinals, he kept up the dominance with an 11-1 win over Hossein Ghorbanali Ramezanianjelodar of Iran.

The matches were all very similar. With a bit of time early in the match to get going, Snyder would score the first points on a takedown. He was relentless with his pressure and pace, adding more takedowns and wearing down his opponents. All three of his matches in the half-bracket were finished off in the second period, after Snyder had established complete control of the match.

The USA won four medals at this year’s Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix. Three were in women’s freestyle, with a gold medal from Tamyra Mensah (69 kg), a silver medal from Sarah Hildebrandt (55 kg) and a bronze medal from Alli Ragan (60 kg). Mensah was just the sixth U.S. woman to win a gold at the respected Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix.

Yarygin Memorial gold medalists from the USA in men's freestyle
(Named Krasnoyarsk Tournament through 1993, then named in honor of late Ivan Yarygin)
1990 - Jim Scherr (198); 1991 - Dave Schultz (163); 1991 - Chris Campbell (198); 1992 - Kendall Cross (125.5); 1993 - Tom Brands (136.5); 1993 - Kurt Angle (220); 1998 - Lincoln McIlravy (152); 2005 - Joe Williams (163); 2005 - Daniel Cormier (211.5); 2009 - Steve Mocco (264.5), 2017 – Kyle Snyder (213.75)

At Krasnoyarsk, Russia

65 kg/143 lbs.
Gold - Ilyas Bekbulatov (Russia)
Sikver - Cherman Valiev (Russia)
Bronze - Alan Gogaev (Russia)
Bronze - Mohammed Mehdi Yeganehjafari (Iran)
5th - Semyon Tereshenko (Russia)
5th - Lkhamgarmaa Narmadakh (Mongolia)

70 kg/154 lbs.
Gold - Israil Kasumov (Russia)
Silver - Zaurbek Sidakov (Russia)
Bronze - Magomedkhabib Kadimagomedov (Russia)
Bronze - Alibek Akbaev (Russia)
5th - Timur Bizhoev (Russia)
5th - Ildus Giniyatullin (Russia)

97 kg/213 lbs.
Gold - Kyle Snyder (USA)
Silver - Rasul Magomedov (Russia)
Bronze - Yuri Belonovski (Russia)
Bronze: Hossein Ghorbanali Ramezanianjelodar (Iran)
5th - Vladislav Baitsaev (Russia)
5th - Munkhzhargal Belgutei (Mongolia)

U.S. men’s freestyle results on Sunday

97 kg/ 213 lbs.- Kyle Snyder, Woodbine, Md. (Titan Mercury WC), gold medal
WIN Chaganxhana (China), 11-0 tech. fall
WIN Munkhzhargal Belgutei (Mongolia), 11-1 tech. fall
WIN Hossein Ghorbanali Ramezanianjelodar (Iran) 11-1 tech. fall
WIN Rasul Magomedov (Russia), 5:02