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Kyle Snyder Becomes Youngest Olympic Champ

Kyle Snyder Becomes Youngest Olympic Champ
Photo: Tony Rotundo

Kyle Snyder just became the youngest Olympic champion in American history.

His 2-1 win over Khetag Gazyumov closes out these Rio Games. The 20-year-old overtakes Henry Cejudo from the 2008 Beijing Games as the youngest champ ever. He repeats after winning the 2015 world championships in Las Vegas last September.

Although Snyder did not go through Gazyumov to win his world title, the two did meet in the semis of the Grand Prix of Germany last month. Gazyumov scored his only points off a shrug to a single leg. There were no takedowns in this gold medal match.

The two were head-to-head the entire match, but Snyder never really allowed Gazyumov to get to his legs. Unlike their first match, Snyder stayed out of underhooks, avoided the shrugs and kept his feet moving to avoid a stepout.

Both wrestlers received passivity calls against them in the first 90 seconds. Just before the two minute mark, the NCAA champ went low single to Gazyumov's left leg and immediately lifted Gazyumov's leg up. He remained calm and didn't force the Azeri to the mat, settling for a stepout to take a 1-0 lead. 

In the final minute, each wrestler took a shot that was fought off. The period ended with the two in an over under position.

As the second started, Snyder continued to take half leg attacks and push the pace. It would pay off as his opponent was put on the shot clock at the 3:32 mark. When time expired, it would prove to be the difference in the match.

Less than 30 seconds later, Snyder received his second passive and went on the shot clock, despite attempting a shot in that time. Only once on the clock did the Ohio State Buckeye attempt a leg attack. It was fought off and Snyder landed in the zone, which had he been pushed out would actually have put him in a better criteria position.

For the last minute of the match, Snyder down blocked and kept strong head/hands defense. Gazyumov was unable to shoot through Snyder's elbows and the match ended 2-1. Snyder joined Helen Maroulis earlier in the week as America's only gold medalists this year; both are from Maryland.
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