Kyle Snyder took the wrestling world by storm in 2016 when he captured the gold medal at 97 kilograms in his Olympic debut. Since then, the hype surrounding Snyder has only intensified. He's won three gold medals at the Pan American Championships, won another gold at the Pan American Games and, of course, earned gold at the World Wrestling Championships (and medaled twice more at the World Championships) all within the last five years. Snyder is one of the top athletes set to return to the Olympics this summer, and he's sure to have a lot of eyes on him as he prepares to defend his title.
As part of our preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, NBC Olympics sent questionnaires to a wide range of athletes to learn more about their lives on and off the field of play.
Here’s some of what we found out about Kyle Snyder:
Tell us about your family.
My wife was a Division I soccer player and is now applying to medical schools. My parents were both athletes. My dad played college football and my mother was a cheerleader. My older brother wrestled at West Point. My younger brother wrestles at Ohio state. My younger sister played soccer her whole life and goes to school at Towson.
How much time do you train? How much do you sleep?
Four to five hours of training. Eight hours sleeping.
Typical training day?
7:30am, pray. 8:30am, strength workout or technique workout. 11am, lunch. 12-2pm, study Bible. 3pm, intense wrestling workout. 6pm, dinner. 7-9pm, study Bible/relax.
What's your favorite workout?
What's the most grueling workout you've ever done?
There have been many. One in particular I remember was at Arizona State for a world team training camp. The room was over 100 degrees and we went hard for 75 minutes. It was hard to breathe and there was no footing on the mat.
Chipotle is my favorite thing to eat. I don’t have much of a nutrition plan; just make sure I stay near the weight I need to be at.
Pizza and ice cream.
Earliest memory of wrestling?
My earliest memory is the 2012 Olympic Games. I was 15 years old. I watched the Olympics my whole life, but didn’t watch wrestling until then. I love the mental aspect of the sport and the challenges it presents physically.
Specific breakthrough moment?
It happened in practice. I was wrestling Jake Varner, 2012 Olympic champion, at a training camp. He had always crushed me. We wrestled two matches. The first one he won 10-0 and the second one he won 7-4. I knew if I could wrestle a full match with him and keep it close then I could compete with anybody.
What would you change about wrestling?
I would like the tournament to be one day and weigh-ins to be the night before.
Close friends with any competitors?
I am friends with athletes from Russia, Iran and Turkey.
Abdulrashid Sadulaev. It is friendly, but I want to destroy him on the mat.
What do you watch to unwind?
Seinfeld is my favorite show. I like watching movies before I compete. Miracle or Secretariat are two of my favorites.
Do you have a nickname?
Snyderman. I came up with it for social media. Everyone calls me it.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can juggle. I am a good ping pong player.
What would you be doing if not an athlete?
I’d like to be a teacher/pastor of a church.
Advice you'd give a young wrestler?
I would tell them to do it because they really enjoy it. Not to focus on winning or losing in the practice room or competition, but to work on the things that they do in practice. They can’t control whether they win or lose. Just focus on their effort and being offensive.