Tokyo Olympic champion Gable Steveson said he hopes to unretire from wrestling and bid for the 2024 Paris Olympics, but the WWE is his priority right now, according to a report.
“I miss being on the mats,” Steveson said, according to an MMAFighting.com article that was also shared on Steveson’s social media. “I miss showcasing my skills every year and going out there and putting on a good show and going out there and winning the national tournament. I miss it. I still have that competitive fighter and hope to get back out there really soon.
“I know the Olympics is next year, and I hope to be a part of that and keep moving forward and keep winning big titles for the USA also.”
A message was sent to Steveson’s representative seeking confirmation that he plans to end a year-plus break from competition and enter the Olympic Trials, which have not been scheduled yet but were in April of the Olympic year for the last three Games.
USA Wrestling has not announced the qualifying procedures to be eligible to compete at trials, so it’s possible that Steveson may have to compete before trials to earn his way in.
Steveson last competed in March 2022, repeating as NCAA heavyweight champion for the University of Minnesota and then leaving his shoes on the mat in the symbolic act of retirement in the sport.
“I’m done,” he said in a post-match ESPN interview that day. “I did what I came to do. I was going to win the Olympic gold and win the national tournament again.”
Steveson then joined the WWE and made an appearance at WrestleMania last April. He has yet to have his debut match on the circuit’s top level. Steveson said his WWE obligations may impact his availability to return to Olympic-style wrestling, according to MMAFighting.com.
In the Tokyo Olympic super heavyweight freestyle final, Steveson beat world champion Geno Petriashvili of Georgia with a takedown in the final second to become the second-youngest U.S. wrestling gold medalist in history at age 21.
He joined Bruce Baumgartner, a star of the 1980s and ’90s, as the lone U.S. men to win an Olympic title in that division. Baumgartner is one of three U.S. wrestlers to win multiple Olympic titles (George Mehnert, John Smith).
“I feel I have a lot more left in the tank to showcase,” Steveson said, according to MMAFighting.com. “I want to prove USA right and keep moving forward overall and become one of the best American amateur wrestlers ever, and I hope I can achieve the Bruce Baumgartner status of having a bunch of medals and having the accolades to show and be a part of WWE and be an entertainer, too.”
Last year, 30-year-old American Hayden Zillmer, a longtime training partner of Steveson’s, finished seventh at worlds in Steveson’s 125kg freestyle division.
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