After Gable Steveson delivered one of the most gripping performances of the Tokyo Olympics, making every second count, the world waits with bated breath for his next move.
A Minnesota Golden Gopher turned Barstool athlete turned Olympic superhero was faced with two options when the 21-year-old found himself down three points with 13 seconds left in the gold medal match.
Steveson exemplified the “never say die” attitude of the sport of wrestling better than most you’ll ever see when he scored two takedowns in the final seconds of the match to take home a gold medal.
In a sport known for pushing your body and your heart to the limit in every practice, Steveson laughed that it was the first time he’s ever had to power through until time was quite literally expiring.
“Mid-match I was losing the match and I was like, ‘Jeez, I’m about to lose and get a silver. Silver is fine,’” Steveson said. “But after a second or two, we had a little break and had to get on our feet. I stood up and I was like, ‘I didn’t come all this way for a silver medal like that. No. I didn’t fly 12 hours, stay for three weeks for a silver. I came for a gold.’ His attitude was different, and I squeaked it out and came out on top.”
Since one of the most inspiring comebacks in all of sports, Steveson has found himself the subject of mass attention. Fighters, wrestlers, celebrities and athletes have poured out praise day after day with almost no end in sight. Back at home now, Steveson says the compliments from some of the biggest figures in America are awesome, but there’s another part of the population who seem to hit closer to the heart.
“It’s a really cool thing but I think the main cool thing that I’ve gotten so far is a lot of young kids have messaged me on Instagram,” Steveson said. “I’ve been checking my requests here and there. They’re on there saying how they look up to me and I’m their idol. It’s a good feeling when you’re this young and kids a couple years younger than you are saying this to me. I’m grateful to have all the attention that comes with it in a good way. It’s always good to see kids look up to me.”
Yet where most wrestlers would live on social media, soaking in the moment, it’s still his Xbox he turns his attention towards when he’s not wrestling. You would hardly know that he not only has a gold medal around his neck but also some of the most lucrative offers a 21-year-old could ever ask for in front of him.
Without giving any hints as to his next move, Steveson has laid out the most tempting possibilities that are in front of him.
“Playing football, go back to college wrestling, UFC, WWE, who knows?” Steveson said. “The door has opened for me and I’m going to explore. There are many cool ones but we’re going to pick the coolest one.”
There would never be a homefield advantage quite like a return to Minneapolis, because what Minnesota native didn’t grow up dreaming of playing for the Vikings? WWE has always been a smooth transition for wrestlers, especially with the charisma of Steveson. There’s also another option that has an upside very few will ever even have a chance at reaching.
“MMA is enticing me because I’ve reached the pinnacle of wrestling and what it is to be the baddest man at wrestling,” Steveson explained. “My thing is being the baddest man in the world. To go out there and win the UFC belt would put me as the baddest man in the world.”
With ties to Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones, Brock Lesnar, Belal Muhammad and many, many more the options are there. Will Steveson pursue his dream to become the baddest man alive? The Olympic hero has his answer very close to the vest and time will only tell.
“We’re seeing a versatile young man that can pick whichever option he can go to and it’s kind of cool that so many people are reaching out on Twitter,” Steveson said. “I feel like I did a very good job at the Olympics, brought home a gold medal and I feel like it’s well deserved and I’m doing my thing for the USA and my state. All options are open, it’s very cool.”
(Hero image provided by Tony Rotundo/Wrestlers Are Warriors)