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Kyle Snyder latest Olympian to win Sullivan Award

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Wrestler Kyle Snyder joined a long list of Olympic champions to earn the Sullivan Award, which has honored the nation’s outstanding amateur athlete since 1930.

Past honorees include Michael PhelpsCarl Lewis and Eric Heiden.

Snyder, the youngest American to win an Olympic and a world wrestling title, beat a group of finalists that also included Olympic figure skating bronze medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani.

The other finalists were Angela Peavy (equestrian), Annika Albrecht (volleyball), Kelly Hunter (volleyball), Joel Berry II (basketball) and Erin Finn (track and field).

Snyder, a finalist last year, became the fourth wrestler to take the award after fellow Olympic champions John SmithBruce Baumgartner and Rulon Gardner.

In the last year, Snyder won his third straight global title at August’s world championships in a final showdown with Russian Abdulrashid Sadulayev and three-peated as NCAA champion in March. The 22-year-old then turned professional en route to what he hopes is his second Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.

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Olympians/Paralympians to win Sullivan Award since 2000
2018: Kyle Snyder (Wrestling)
2016: Breanna Stewart (Basketball, shared award)
2013: Missy Franklin (Swimming)
2011: Evan Lysacek (Figure Skating)
2009: Shawn Johnson (Gymnastics)
2007: Jessica Long (Swimming, Paralympics)
2005: Paul Hamm (Gymnastics)
2004: Michael Phelps (Swimming)
2003: Sarah Hughes (Figure Skating)
2002: Michelle Kwan (Figure Skating)
2001: Rulon Gardner (Wrestling)

U.S. wins men’s freestyle wrestling world cup for first time in 15 years

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Even without powers Iran and Russia in the field, the U.S.’ first men’s freestyle world cup title in 15 years still meant plenty to Jordan Burroughs.

“I’ve won every single tournament I’ve ever competed in,” the 2012 Olympic and four-time world champion said, “except this one.”

Burroughs moved to 27-0 in his six-year world cup career, then watched as teammate and 2016 Olympic champion Kyle Snyder clinched the team victory over Azerbaijan in Sunday’s final in Iowa City.

“I would always pick myself to go out there and wrestle when it comes down to the team,” said Snyder, the youngest Olympic and world champion in USA Wrestling history. “We have a lot of good guys, but I feel real confident in my ability to wrestle under those type of circumstances.”

The eight-nation annual meet lost some sting with the absence of Russia, Iran and Turkey, which combined to win four of the six Olympic men’s freestyle gold medals in Rio. Iran and Turkey withdrew in the winter.

Then the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. of trying to bar Russian wrestlers as the U.S. embassy in Moscow said it was unable to fulfill a late visa request by the Russian Wrestling Federation to travel to Iowa City.

Iran won the men’s freestyle world cup the last six years. Russia was runner-up three of the last five years. The U.S. men’s freestyle team ranked No. 1 at the 2017 Worlds, though.

“I wouldn’t want to come 12 hours to compete against these 10 guys that we have anyway,” Burroughs said. “We’re the best team in the world. People are like, well, Iran, Russia, they’re the best teams. We’re the best team. We’re the reigning world champions. We’re the team champs. If they wanted to win a world cup, they should have prepared and been here to wrestle us. … We flew all the way out to Iran, 15-hour flight, to get there [to the world cup and finish second] last year. They should have been here this year.”

This 10-man U.S. team included not only the Olympic champions Burroughs and Snyder, but also Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox, world champion Logan Stieber and world medalists James GreenThomas Gilman and Nick Gwiazdowski. Burroughs, 29, is the only man in that group older than 25.

“I think we’re the best team the United States has ever made, and we’re only going to get better,” Snyder said. “We’ve got people coming up in the developmental age groups. We have guys who haven’t made teams yet that are really, really good. I think this is the best team the United States has ever had, but I don’t even think it’ll be close to what we’re going to have when it comes to the Olympics and world championships in the future.”

Americans are preparing for the world team trials in June and the world championships in October in Budapest.

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United States 6, Azerbaijan 4
57kg: Giorgi Edisherashvili (Azerbaijan) dec. Thomas Gilman (USA), 8-7
61kg: Kendric Maple (USA) dec. Afghan Khashalov (Azerbaijan), 6-2
65kg: Logan Stieber (USA) dec. Haji Aliyev (Azerbaijan), 6-3
70kg: Joshgun Azimov (Azerbaijan) dec. James Green (USA), 4-4
74kg: Jordan Burroughs (USA) pin Gasjimurad Omarov (Azerbaijan), 3:15
79kg: Kyle Dake (USA) dec. Jabrayil Hasanov (Azerbaijan), 5-3
86kg: David Taylor (USA) tech. fall Aleksander Gostiev (Azerbaijan), 12-2
92kg: Aslanbek Alborov (Azerbaijan) dec. J’den Cox (USA), 4-4
97kg: Kyle Snyder (USA) tech fall Roman Bakirov (Azerbaijan), 14-3
125kg: Jamaladdin Magomedov (Azerbaijan) dec. Nick Gwiazdowski (USA) 4-3

How to watch men’s freestyle wrestling world cup

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Olympic champions Kyle Snyder and Jordan Burroughs lead the U.S. in the men’s freestyle wrestling world cup in Iowa City this weekend with live coverage on NBCSN and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

Saturday (ET)
Olympic Channel, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (USA-India)
NBCSN, 3:30-5:30 p.m. (USA-Japan)

Sunday
Olympic Channel, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (USA-Georgia)
NBCSN, 5-7 p.m. (Gold-Medal Match)
*All coverage also streaming.

The annual meet includes eight nations — chosen from the top teams at the previous year’s world championships — split into two pools for two days of competition, culminating in medal matches Sunday afternoon.

The U.S. was the top team at 2017 Worlds, with Snyder and Burroughs leading the way with gold medals. Others on the U.S. roster this weekend include Rio bronze medalist J’den Cox, 2016 World champion Logan Stieber and two-time world medalist James Green.

WORLD CUP: Schedule | Rosters

The meet lacks three of the world’s top men’s freestyle nations — Russia, Iran and Turkey. Iran and Turkey withdrew.

Last month, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. of trying to bar Russian wrestlers as the U.S. embassy in Moscow said it was unable to fulfill a late visa request by the Russian Wrestling Federation to travel to Iowa City.

Russia, Iran and Turkey combined to win four of the six Olympic men’s freestyle gold medals in Rio. Iran won the men’s freestyle world cup the last six years. Russia was runner-up three of the last five years.

The U.S. last won in 2003.

Americans are preparing for the world team trials in June and the world championships in October in Budapest.

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VIDEO: Kyle Snyder ends Ohio State career with third NCAA title