Kyle Snyder, a Coronado High graduate, was named the United States Olympic Committee's 2017 male athlete of the year Wednesday at a dinner in Los Angeles.
Snyder, the 2017 World champion freestyle wrestler, said he was honored by the award.
“This is great because Team USA is built from a ton of amazing and talented athletes. To be awarded this title is pretty special,” said Snyder.
Snyder becomes just the fourth wrestler to win a USOC Athlete of the Year award, joining Olympic and World champions John Smith in 1990, Rulon Gardner in 2000 and Jordan Burroughs in 2015.
Snyder won the 97 kg World gold medal in what was dubbed the “Match of the Century,” defeating Olympic champion and two-time World champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev of Russia in the finals. His win gave the USA the World Team title over Russia by one team point.
It was the third straight World or Olympic gold medal for Snyder, who was a 2015 World champion and 2016 Olympic champion. Also in 2017, Snyder won the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in Russia, the first U.S. men’s winner in that prestigious event since 2009. He also won gold medals at the Pan American Championships and the Grand Prix of Spain.
Domestically, Snyder won both the U.S. Senior Open and the U.S. World Team Trials. As a junior at Ohio State, Snyder won his second NCAA Div. I title at heavyweight, as well.
“Everything went well for me this past year. Looking back, I was able to improve. I am a better wrestler today than I was one year ago, which is what I try to do. I faced some great competition this year. In the World finals, I faced someone that many people think is one of the greatest of all time, and I competed well. I was able to train hard both mentally and physically for the World Championships,” said Snyder.
The other Male finalists were Lowell Bailey of Biathlon, Caeleb Dressel of Swimming, Sam Kendricks of Track and Field and McRae Williams of Freestyle Skiing.