COLUMBUS, Ohio – In his final tune-up before heading to Rio next month, Kyle Snyder claimed the bronze medal on Saturday at the Grand Prix of Germany at Helmut-Körnig-Halle in Dortmund, Germany.
Snyder, the youngest World champion in U.S. history, ran into seven-time World and Olympic medalist Khetag Gazyumov of Azerbaijan in the 97 kg/213 lbs. semifinals. In the first meeting between the two Olympic title contenders, Gazyumov edged Snyder, 2-1. The American star came back to defeat two-time University World medalist Serdar Boeke of Turkey for bronze, 11-1.
His road to the semifinal showdown with Gazyumov was highlighted by a pair of high-scoring victories – the first a 9-4 decision over three-time Olympian Nicolai Ceban of Moldova and the second a 9-1 rout over Diaz Robertti of Venezuela.
In the last three weeks, Snyder has gone 7-1 against many of the top international contenders in his weight class. At the Freestyle World Cup in Los Angeles June 11-12, Snyder was one of three Americans to finish unbeaten on the weekend. Included in those wins is an 8-1 decision over Abbas Tahan of Iran in a rematch of last September’s World Championship semifinals. He is No. 2 in the latest UWW World Freestyle Rankings, behind only Khadshimourad Gatslov of Russia, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist.
Snyder and the rest of his United States teammates depart for Rio of August 3. His competition at 97kg/213 lbs. is slated to take place on the final day of the Olympic Games – Sunday, August 21.