Rio Olympics Wrestling Men

Coronado grad Kyle Snyder kisses his gold medal after the men’s 97-kg freestyle gold medal wrestling match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 20, 2016.

If there’s one thing to know about Kyle Snyder, it’s this: He does not dwell on the past.

Whether that’s winning an Olympic gold medal at a young age or losing to someone known as the Russian Tank, he likes to move forward. He’s always had this philosophy, even while he was a Coronado High School student who was training with older, more experienced wrestlers.

“A loss is no big deal,” Snyder said. He wasn’t done.

“Neither is a win.”

He’s always looking ahead and trying to do everything he can to get to his next destination. That usually means long, hard hours of practice and putting aside past successes and failures.

For now, he’s preparing over the next few months for the Pan American Games in Peru and the World Wrestling Championships in Kazakhstan. He’s training with the U.S. national team at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center, a place he first got familiar with as a Coronado senior.

The athletes are training here until Wednesday.

Snyder was a three-time Maryland state champion — with an astounding 179-0 record — before he decided to move to Colorado. He started attending Coronado but didn’t wrestle for the Cougars.

He credited the school’s faculty and staff with helping him achieve his Olympic dreams, thanks to juggling his class schedule to train and giving him extended time off to travel to places like Cuba with the U.S. team.

“It was pretty unique,” Snyder said.

Back then, at least one teacher said he was “an integral part” of his classes. He also worked with special needs students as part of a physical education course. But a lot of his time was spent fine-tuning his craft.

Snyder’s career reached an apex at the 2016 Rio Olympics. At 20, he became the youngest Olympic gold medalist in his sport. He’s the youngest to achieve the so-called Triple Crown of American wrestling by winning world, NCAA and Olympic titles in the same year.

He’s also a three-time NCAA champ.

But he’s not done. He’s training and looking ahead. At this year’s world championships, he wants redemption. In 2018, he was pinned by Abdulrashid Sadulayev, better known as the Russian tank, in the finals and settled for a silver medal.

The loss ended Snyder’s streak of three world titles.

But he didn’t dwell on it.

He thought about his next moves and how he could improve. He hit the weight room and wrestling mat even harder. He continues to dominate, all while keeping his strong Christian faith close to his heart.

“I’m not sure what will happen in regards to results,” the 23-year-old Snyder said, “but I know that I’m going to work as hard as I can and represent Christ to the best of my abilities.”

Chhun Sun is a sports reporter with an emphasis in preps. He joined The Gazette in April 2015 and covered public safety for three years before joining @gazettepreps staff. The Thailand-born Cambodian-American has been in journalism for nearly two decades.

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