After being announced as a semifinalist for the prestigious AAU James E. Sullivan Award last week, Big Ten, NCAA and Olympic champion Kyle Snyder is now a finalist and will attend the awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 11 at the New York Athletic Club in New York City.
The AAU Sullivan Award has been presented annually since 1930 to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. Representatives from the AAU created the Sullivan Award with the intent to recognize contributions and achievements across the country of amateur athletes.
"I'm really honored to be a finalist for the 87th AAU James E. Sullivan Award," said Snyder. "This award has been presented to some of the greatest athletes of all time, athletes that not only have reached the top of their game, but also competed with great character. I work extremely hard to be a leader in my sport and I am very humbled to be considered for such a prestigious prize."
Fans can vote for Snyder starting today (Wednesday, March 15), through next Wednesday, March 22 at 11:59 p.m. Click here to vote Snyder: bit.ly/AAUSullivanAward2017
Snyder added a second Big Ten title at 285 lbs. to his two weeks ago, topping previously undefeated and second-ranked Connor Medbery of Wisconsin, 8-5. His win helped the Buckeyes win their second team title in the past three years. This weekend, he is the top seed at the NCAA Championships and is seeking his second consecutive title.
A junior from Woodbine, Md., Snyder is 12-0 this year and 10 of those wins coming by bonus points. Dating back to last season, he's won 23 consecutive collegiate matches and averaged over 15 points per match with five falls, eight technical falls and five major decisions. In one of the most memorable championships matches in NCAA history, he ended Nick Gwiazdowski's 88-match win streak in front of a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden.
On the international scene, Snyder won the gold medal at 97kg last August in the Rio Games, becoming the youngest gold medalist in U.S. wrestling history and first active Ohio State student-athlete to win an Olympic championship since Jerry Lucas (basketball) in 1960. Most recently, he won the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix in Russia, regarded as the toughest Open international freestyle event of the year.
Only three wrestlers have ever won the James E. Sullivan Award, Olympic champions John Smith (1990), Bruce Baumgartner (1995) and Rulon Gardner (2000).