Gable Steveson unretires from wrestling, sets return competition

Gable Steveson

Gable Steveson, the Tokyo Olympic super heavyweight wrestling champion, confirmed his unretirement and plans to return at the U.S. Open in two weeks.

Steveson, 22, 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 from the sport.

“I expect to do the things I’ve done before to the guys that I’ve wrestled before,” Steveson said in a Flowrestling video published Tuesday. “A year off doesn’t mean anything.”

Steveson spent much of the last year training to perform in WWE. He appeared at WrestleMania last April. He has yet to have a debut match on the circuit’s top level. Steveson did not address his WWE status in Tuesday’s video.

“I expect energy, a lot of energy [at the U.S. Open in Las Vegas], a lot of people waiting to see what he’s been doing,” Steveson said. “Has he been training right? Has he been doing the right things to become that person again? And my answer’s going to be yes. But a lot of people think talk is cheap.”

If Steveson wins the U.S. Open, he will qualify for June’s Final X, a best-of-three series between two finalists to fill the U.S. spot for September’s world championships. In past Olympic cycles, reigning world championships medalists earned byes into Olympic Trials finals, though the format for the 2024 trials hasn’t been announced.

In the Tokyo Olympic final, Steveson beat reigning 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 freestyle super heavyweight title. Baumgartner is one of three U.S. wrestlers to win multiple Olympic titles (George MehnertJohn Smith).

Steveson indicated a return to wrestling last month, saying he hoped to qualify for the 2024 Paris Games, according to

“I feel I have a lot more left in the tank to showcase,” Steveson said then, according to the report. “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 Hayden Zillmer, a longtime training partner of Steveson’s, finished seventh at worlds in Steveson’s 125kg freestyle division.

“There’s always a target on your back,” Steveson said. “That’s what I like. I like that chase. It’s like Tom and Jerry. Who’s going to find who? How is the show going to end?”

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At the French Open, a Ukrainian mom makes her comeback

Elina Svitolina French Open

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, once the world’s third-ranked tennis player, is into the French Open third round in her first major tournament since childbirth.

Svitolina, 28, swept 2022 French Open semifinalist Martina Trevisan of Italy, then beat Australian qualifier Storm Hunter 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the last 32 at Roland Garros. She next plays 56th-ranked Russian Anna Blinkova, who took out the top French player, fifth seed Caroline Garcia, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 on her ninth match point.

Svitolina’s husband, French player Gael Monfils, finished his first-round five-set win after midnight on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. She watched that match on a computer before going to sleep ahead of her 11 a.m. start Wednesday.

“This morning, he told me, ‘I’m coming to your match, so make it worth it,'” she joked on Tennis Channel. “I was like, OK, no pressure.

“I don’t know what he’s doing here now. He should be resting.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Svitolina made at least one major quarterfinal every year from 2017 through 2021, including the semifinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2019. She married Monfils one week before the Tokyo Olympics, then won a singles bronze medal.

Svitolina played her last match before maternity leave on March 24, 2022, one month after Russia invaded her country. She gave birth to daughter Skai on Oct. 15.

Svitolina returned to competition in April. Last week, she won the tournament preceding the French Open, sweeping Blinkova to improve to 17-3 in her career in finals. She’s playing on a protected ranking of 27th after her year absence and, now, on a seven-match win streak.

“It was always in my head the plan to come back, but I didn’t put any pressure on myself, because obviously with the war going on, with the pregnancy, you never know how complicated it will go,” she said. “I’m as strong as I was before, maybe even stronger, because I feel that I can handle the work that I do off the court, and match by match I’m getting better. Also mentally, because mental can influence your physicality, as well.”

Svitolina said she’s motivated by goals to attain before she retires from the sport and to help Ukraine, such as donating her prize money from last week’s title in Strasbourg.

“These moments bring joy to people of Ukraine, to the kids as well, the kids who loved to play tennis before the war, and now maybe they don’t have the opportunity,” she said. “But these moments that can motivate them to look on the bright side and see these good moments and enjoy themselves as much as they can in this horrible situation.”

Svitolina said that she’s noticed “a lot of rubbish” concerning how tennis is reacting to the war.

“We have to focus on what the main point of what is going on,” she said. “Ukrainian people need help and need support. We are focusing on so many things like empty words, empty things that are not helping the situation, not helping anything.

“I want to invite everyone to focus on helping Ukrainians. That’s the main point of this, to help kids, to help women who lost their husbands because they are at the war, and they are fighting for Ukraine.

“You can donate. Couple of dollars might help and save lives. Or donate your time to something to help people.”

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Marcell Jacobs still sidelined, misses another race with Fred Kerley

Marcell Jacobs

Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs of Italy will miss another scheduled clash with world 100m champion Fred Kerley, withdrawing from Friday’s Diamond League meet in Florence.

Jacobs, 28, has not recovered from the nerve pain that forced him out of last Sunday’s Diamond League meet in Rabat, Morocco, according to Italy’s track and field federation.

In his absence, Kerley’s top competition will be fellow American Trayvon Bromell, the world bronze medalist, and Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala, the world’s fastest man this year at 9.84 seconds. Kerley beat both of them in Rabat.

The Florence Diamond League airs live on Peacock on Friday from 2-4 p.m. ET.

Jacobs has withdrawn from six scheduled head-to-heads with Kerley dating to May 2022 due to a series of health issues since that surprise gold in Tokyo.

Kerley, primarily a 400m sprinter until the Tokyo Olympic year, became the world’s fastest man in Jacobs’ absence. He ran a personal best 9.76 seconds, the world’s best time of 2022, at last June’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships. Then he led a U.S. sweep of the medals at July’s worlds.

Jacobs’ next scheduled race is a 100m at the Paris Diamond League on June 9. Kerley is not in that field, but world 200m champion Noah Lyles is.

The last time the reigning Olympic and world men’s 100m champions met in a 100m was the 2012 London Olympic final between Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake. From 2013 to 2017, Bolt held both titles, then retired in 2017 while remaining reigning Olympic champion until Jacobs’ win in Tokyo, where Kerley took silver.

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