MINNEAPOLIS - University of Minnesota wrestler Gable Steveson got a hero’s welcome home as he returned to the Twin Cities Sunday night after winning Olympic gold in Tokyo.
Steveson, who won a Big Ten and NCAA title at heavyweight with Minnesota last season, wrestled in the 125-kilo freestyle weight class for Team USA after winning the Olympic Trials to qualify for Tokyo. He went 3-0, including beating the defending Olympic champion, on the road to making to the gold medal match.
Trailing 8-5 with 13 seconds left in the final period, Steveson roared back with four straight points, including a takedown just before the buzzer sounded, to win the gold medal match. Steveson flew home Sunday night, and was greeted by hundreds of fans at Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport. He celebrated Olympic gold by taking selfies and signing autographs for fans that came out to the airport to welcome the Apple Valley native home.
"It’s a surreal feeling. It’s crazy that I put on for the best country in the world. I came home to Minnesota to such a great crowd, I’m so happy to be here. I came home with a gold medal, I think I did a phenomenal job," Steveson said Sunday night. "It means a lot for me to put on my best effort for the great state of Minnesota. I’m an Olympic champion, and that’s crazy for me to say."
So what’s next for Steveson? He doesn’t know yet. He’s going to soak in winning Olympic gold, but has the option to return to the Gophers for one more season, or pursue a career in professional wrestling.