LIMA — From a young age, Kyle Snyder had high goals.
His first three years of high school, he went 179-0. He was ranked, after his junior season, as the No. 1 pound-for-pound high school wrestler in America by Flowrestling.
Snyder was a three-time Maryland national prep champion, as well as a junior World Champion.
Snyder spent his senior year of high school training at the United States Olympic Training Center, competing internationally and winning America’s first Junior World Championship in over 20 years, while becoming the youngest two-time Junior World medalist in U.S. history.
At Monday’s 13th annual Spring for Scholarships, at the Ohio State University at Lima, Snyder spoke to area donors and community members on both his career, and how donors have made it possible for him to pursue his dream.
Snyder is both the youngest Olympic Gold Medalist (20 years old) as well as the youngest World Champion in American wrestling history.
Snyder also is the youngest wrestler ever to win the World, NCAA, and Olympic championships in the same year — a sweep that hadn’t been accomplished in a generation — when he completed this rare triple crown at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Snyder then made history by becoming the first Olympic gold medalist to return to college and win an NCAA wrestling championship, clinching his second consecutive NCAA title in 2017.
“It’s been a couple good years,” Snyder said with a grin. “It’s gone by really fast. I remember watching the Olympics in 2012 and thinking that I want to be the guy that represents the country in 2016. … It was like a blink, and it was there.
“So, now my junior season is already over. I’m now training to make a World team and compete again for Team USA this summer in Paris.”
His list of accomplishments include – 2013 Junior World Champion, 2015 World Champion (96 kg), 2015 NCAA runner-up (individual), member of the 2015 NCAA OSU championship team, NCAA national champion (2016 and 2017), and 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist.
Despite his international success, Snyder is planning on returning to OSU for his senior season.
“It was a little tough,” Snyder said in reference to his decision to return for his final season at Ohio State. “I met with the coaches and we discussed the possibility of maybe not coming back (to OSU). But once I make a decision, and I feel confident in it, I really don’t look back on it. I’ve never regretted anything I’ve done so far in my career, and I feel confident in what my coaches and family have discussed. So, I’m excited about next season. I’ll be ready to compete and represent Ohio State.”
At 5-feet, 11-inches tall and weighing 225 pounds, Snyder will often face opponents who are much bigger, while competing as a heavyweight in college.
However, not being able to conquer bigger opponents has never been an issue for Snyder.
“The question comes up, ‘how many times does it take to chop down a tree?’” Snyder said. “As many times as it takes, right? These guys might be bigger than me, but I’m in good shape, and I’m strong, too. I’m going to shoot a lot. So, I’ll shoot as many times as it takes to take them down.”
According to Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan, there is much more to Snyder than just his extraordinary wrestling prowess.
“Everyone likes a true champion, and this guy is a true champion in every way,” Ryan said. “Most people get to see him as the Olympic champion and World champion. I get to walk along side of him on a daily basis, and really see the essence of who he is. He is more of an impressive human being than he is a wrestler.”
Snyder has no regrets of continuing his college career.
“There’s probably no better place for support than being a student-athlete at Ohio State, because of the backing we have here is by far the best of any other school. I’m from Maryland, but I got a lot of love from Ohio when I was over in Rio competing, or any other country I’ve competed in. So, I’m very glad I chose Ohio State,” Snyder said.