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Gable Steveson Declines 2021 World Championships Invite for Team USA

Gable Steveson celebrates after winning Olympic gold. Photo courtesy of Ezra Shaw / Getty Images.

Just a little over a week removed from the conclusion of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the deadline has officially passed for all nine Olympic medalists to notify USA Wrestling of their intentions to participate at the 2021 World Championships in Oslo, Norway, October 2-10.

USA Wrestling stated that any 2020 Olympic medalist would earn automatic qualification to the World Championships without first competing at the World Team Trials on September 11-12 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Gable Steveson took home Olympic gold after winning a last-second thriller in the 125 kg  gold-medal match against three-time World champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Geno Petriashvili. Steveson was the only medalist for Team USA to decline the automatic bid to the World Team.

Steveson’s decision regarding the 2021 World Championships, plus his cryptic Instagram post referencing his “last backflip,” creates even more uncertainty about whether Gable will be retiring from wrestling soon. The Minnesota heavyweight has been very vocal about his aspirations and potential career opportunities off the mat recently.

Gable has reportedly drawn interest from the WWE, NFL, MMA, and even the University of Minnesota Golden Gopher football program. He also has the opportunity to return to the U of M wrestling team as well. Only time will tell which path Steveson chooses.

With eight of nine medalists accepting the invitation to Oslo, that means that quite a few of the weights across the three styles (men’s freestyle, women’s freestyle, and Greco-Roman) will not be contested at the 2021 World Team Trials next month in Nebraska.

Official release from Gary Abbott/USA Wrestling. 

Olympic champion Gable Steveson, who won his medal at 125 kg in men’s freestyle at the Tokyo Games, has notified USA Wrestling that he will not accept a position on the U.S. World Team that will compete at the 2021 Senior World Championships in Oslo, Norway, October 2-10.

According to the 2021 World Team Selection Procedures, “The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Medalist, if competing at the same weight class, will receive the automatic selection to the 2021 World Team at that same weight.”

The USA won nine medals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan and eight of the medalists have accepted their spot on the 2021 U.S. Senior World Team: Olympic champion Tamyra Mensah Stock (68 kg in women’s freestyle), Olympic champion David Taylor (86 kg in men’s freestyle), Olympic silver medalist Adeline Gray (76 kg in women’s freestyle), Olympic silver medalist Kyle Snyder (97 kg in men’s freestyle), Olympic bronze medalist Helen Maroulis (57 kg in women’s freestyle), Olympic bronze medalist Kyle Dake (74 kg in men’s freestyle), Olympic bronze medalist Sarah Hildebrandt (50 kg in women’s freestyle) and Olympic bronze medalist Thomas Gilman (57 kg in men’s freestyle).

The U.S. team for Oslo will be stacked, just from these eight athletes. In addition to the eight 2020 Olympic medals won by these wrestlers, Snyder and Maroulis were also 2016 Olympic champions, giving this group 10 Olympic medals. These athletes have also won 13 Senior World titles, with Gray boasting five World golds, Maroulis, Snyder, and Dake holding two World titles, and one World gold for Mensah Stock and Taylor. Every one of these wrestlers have won at least one Senior World medal and one Olympic medal.

What this means is that there will be 22 weight classes contested at the upcoming 2021 World Team Trials at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb., September 11-12.

With the acceptance of their World Team berths by these eight athletes, there will not be any competition at the eight following weight classes in Lincoln, men’s freestyle (57 kg, 74 kg, 86 kg, 97 kg) and women’s freestyle (50 kg, 57 kg, 68 kg, 76 kg).

The 2021 World Championships in Oslo will be conducted in the 10 World Championship weight classes in each of the wrestling disciplines, for a total of 30 weight classes.

With the eight weight classes already filled by Olympic medalists, these are the weight classes that will be contested in Lincoln.

Men’s freestyle: 61 kg, 65 kg, 70 kg, 79 kg, 92 kg, 125 kg

Women’s freestyle: 53 kg, 55 kg, 59 kg, 62 kg, 65 kg, 72 kg

Greco-Roman: 55 kg, 60 kg, 63 kg, 67 kg, 72 kg, 77 kg, 82 kg, 87 kg, 97 kg, 130 kg

2021 U.S. Senior World Team (as of August 15, 2021)

Women’s freestyle

50 kg – Sarah Hildebrandt (Colorado Springs, Colo./USOPTC/New York AC)

57 kg – Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md./Sunkist Kids)

68 kg – Tamyra Mensah-Stock (Colorado Springs, Colo./USOPTC/Titan Mercury WC)

76 kg – Adeline Gray (Colorado Springs, Colo./USOPTC/New York AC)

Men’s freestyle

57 kg – Thomas Gilman (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)

74 kg – Kyle Dake (Ithaca, N.Y./Spartan Combat WC/Titan Mercury WC)

86 kg – David Taylor (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)

97 kg – Kyle Snyder (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)

22 more berths to be determined at World Team Trials in Lincoln, Neb., September 11-12

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