It appears that those in the Penn State wrestling room will get the opportunity to train with another Olympic gold medalist.
Former Ohio State three-time NCAA champ, 2016 Olympic champ and two-time World champion wrestler Kyle Snyder shocked the wrestling world by announcing Thursday that he’s transferring from the Ohio RTC in Columbus to the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, where he’ll be in the company of fellow Olympic gold medalists Cael Sanderson and Jake Varner.
Snyder won a bronze medal at 97 kilograms for Team USA in men’s freestyle at the World Wrestling Championships in September.
In a statement released on social media, Snyder thanked his coaches at Ohio State and the Ohio RTC, but said it was time to “take advantage of additional thinking and incorporating that into my wrestling.” Snyder graduated from Ohio State in 2018, then stayed in Columbus to train as a resident-athlete at the Ohio RTC.
“I have a responsibility to my teammates, to my country, and to God, to tell myself the truth and to act upon the truth,” he wrote. “The simple truth is I need to get better. In order for me to fulfill my obligations as a member of Team USA and as the defending Olympic champ, I must give full effort and take complete responsibility for this process.”
Snyder’s third-place finish was his lowest placement at the World Championships since wrestling at the senior level, having won silver in 2018 and gold in 2017 and 2015. At 19 years old, he made history in 2015 by becoming the youngest American to win a world title, and the youngest to win an Olympic title the next year at 20 — all while balancing his college career with the Buckeyes.
In an interview with USA Wrestling, Snyder said he’s looking for a change of scenery and having some new eyes on him with different coaches and training partners to help him in his pursuit of climbing back atop the World and Olympic podium.
At NLWC, Snyder will join fellow 2019 World Team member Zain Retherford (65 kg), as well as 2018 87-kg World champ David Taylor and 2019 U23 World Team member Bo Nickal (92 kg). Both Nickal and Taylor, along with 2019 NCAA heavyweight Champ Anthony Cassar, 2012 Olympic champ Varner and possibly coach Sanderson himself will be likely training partners for the former NCAA heavyweight.
“Penn State has world-class coaches and world-class competitors in the room,” he told USA Wrestling. “I just think that change is really important. I’ll get a lot of feels there and different perspective of my wrestling.”
Olympic wrestling trials for the 2020 Tokyo Games will be held at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center April 4-5. As a returning World medalist, Snyder will have a bid to the best-of-three finals. The Summer Games are set for July 24-Aug. 9.