You didn’t think he was really going to hang it up did you?

NCAA Champion Kyven Gadson is ready to lace up his wrestling shoes and get back into a singlet as he has announced with us that he will in fact enter the freestyle circuit and try to make the USA Olympic Team at 97 kg.

Gadson is planning on staying to train in Ames, Iowa for the 2016 Olympics, where he will be coached at the Cyclone Wrestling Club by former USA Wrestling Men’s Freestyle Head Coach Kevin Jackson, along with Travis and Trent Paulson. Jackson made five USA National teams, and won three gold medals in his time as a freestyle competitor. Jackson is just one of five American wrestlers to hold three World level titles, winning the 1991 and 1995 World Championships, and the 1992 Olympics.

Gadson recently graduated from Iowa State University where he was a major anchor and leader in their lineup at 197 pounds for the past three seasons. After an injury held him out as a freshman, Gadson went on to make the podium on three occasions for the Cyclones, and he reached the pinnacle in his third and final All-American honor when he won an NCAA title by pinning Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder. The 2015 NCAA tournament was a special one as Gadson led all wrestlers in individual points by scoring a pair of falls, a technical fall, a major decision, and a decision along the way to the top.

Gadson took sixth at the 2013 NCAA championships and then went on to place fourth as a junior in 2014. It was a historic moment for both ISU and the Gadson family as Kyven and his late father, Willie, became the first father-son duo to be two-time conference champions and two-time NCAA All-Americans in Cyclone history.

Despite such a dominant performance Gadson might be remembered for his post title interview, where he delivered his famous line, “I just want some ice cream”, moments after winning his title.

Gadson’s entering into the 97 kg weight class adds to an already deep field. In the 2016 Olympics held in London, former Iowa State NCAA champion Jake Varner was able to capture a gold for the U.S., but he was defeated in the 2015 World Team Trials by Kyle Snyder. Snyder is an accomplished freestyle wrestler himself, having won a 2013 Junior World title, and a 2014 Junior bronze medal.

While Cyclone fans would love to see Gadson be able to replicate his dominance over Snyder that was displayed in St. Louis at the 2015 NCAA Championships, realistically we should expect a much more entertaining battle. Gadson will be training with plenty of high level partners to get prepared for the 2016 Olympic Trials. Gadson may have an advantage with the trials being held in Iowa City, less than 90 miles from where Gadson prepped at Waterloo East.


Open Letter to the Gadson Strong Family!
I am taking this time to announce that I will be training as a 2016 Olympic Hopeful at 97kg. Now, some people may ask why and I will tell you why. Growing up, when I wrote down my goals I’m pretty sure I skipped right to Olympic Champion. That was and still is the pinnacle of wrestling. I will always remember seeing a poster of 1992 Olympic Gold Medalist Kevin Jackson on my brother’s door. KJ looked like a “BAD MAN” in his USA
gear and the Gold Medal. At that time, I didn’t know I would wrestle for him when I grew up. As a child, I read books and heard stories about Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph, the 1992 Dream Team; and I even watched Michael Johnson in 2000 at Sydney tear across the track. At a tender 8 years old, I knew that I wanted to become an Olympic Champ. And besides, Freestyle is just so much fun compared to some other styles! Haha

Just the other day, I was watching a home video of me and my dad having our first practice on December 31, 1998. I was six and a half at that time. I wasn’t a very seasoned wrestler nor did I listen very well, as my Dad commented during the video as he showed me a standup on our living room carpet. However, at the end of the video my Dad proudly says, “That’s Kyven’s first lesson baby. …We have a long ways to go, but we’ll get there buddy!” (Willie Gadson)

Some people might ask, “Well, wasn’t the NCAA Championship getting ‘there’?” And for some people, the answer would be, yes. The NCAA title was definitely a form of getting “there.” I am very proud of the way it ended. But, as I stated earlier, the Dream has always been to become an Olympic Champion. I attribute my thoughts of being finished in March to just plain exhaustion. After the NCAA Championship, I was very tired! Throughout my life I have dealt with adversity and setbacks, but I have learned to overcome them with my Faith as my foundation and Jesus Christ as the cornerstone of my life! God has blessed me with talent, skills, and semi-good genetics (thanks Mom and Dad) :), as well as a mind to serve the Lord in all that I do and much much more.

Ultimately, I am going to do this because this is something that I want for me, not because of outside pressure or anything like that. As I was contemplating the reasons to live out this Dream, I came to three very important why’s:

1. To give Glory to God
2. I want to be the best in the World and you do that by becoming an Olympic Champion!
3. I want to KNOW! To be the BEST, what else is there??

I don’t want to live with regret or have the thoughts in the back of my mind that I could’ve, I should’ve, or I would’ve…down the road. Therefore, the only way to not have those thoughts is to become a “Dream Catcher” sponsored by the Cyclone Wrestling Club out of Ames, IA. The Cyclone Wrestling Club has a rich and powerful history of producing Olympic Gold Medalists with their Legacy of Gold and Greatness at the Olympic Games. The other day while doing some reading I came across a picture of 2004 Olympian Paul Pierce and a quote that read, his entire life I know that both of these hurt, but the PAIN that lingers with regret is much more difficult to face than the pain of hard work! And just like Coach Jackson would say, “When has anyone ever said they regretted working hard?” Then Coach would answer his own question, “I never heard it!” “What hurts more, the PAIN of hard work or the PAIN of regret?” As a young man who has been striving to reach goals I will attack this journey to Río and then to the top of the podium with a R.A.R.E. mentality that will showcase my Faith, Focus, Determination, Work Ethic, and Talent! I hope to inspire my followers to make a difference and to go catch your dreams while persevering through the obstacles that you will face in life no matter how big they seem!

Be Great!
If you would like to follow my journey and become a part of the Gadson Strong Family, look for the announcement of my website launch–coming soon. To all those that have supported me along the way and will continue to support me, and to those just joining the Gadson Strong Family THANK YOU! I hope to see you in Río!

Kyven “Showtime” Gadson

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle