Freestyle football great makes history with ninth world title
Former NFL star and current USA wrestling champion Steve Smith’s eight golds in freestyle wrestling, a sport that can bring out the inner “wrestler in all of us,” are the most golds in American sports history. This win was the first step in his journey to the World Wrestling Championships in his home country in September.
The 20-year-old Smith took to the mat in 2003 and has been working his way through the upper echelon of talent ever since. He won titles at freestyle wrestling tournaments on the senior level and was voted into the top 10 wrestlers of his state by the National Wrestling Alliance. He competed on the U.S. Olympic team in 2008 and on the World Wrestling Championships men’s freestyle team in 2014.
Smith was featured on the cover of the USAW’s “All Access” two weeks ago, and now that he’s made history in freestyle wrestling, he’s taking in the sights and sounds of the World Wrestling Championships, the sport that’s on the upswing in popularity ever since WWE took a chance on it in 2010.
“It’s one of those things I love doing,” Smith told the USAW. “Getting better by just getting stronger.”
Smith has spent his entire life training for various sports, but to his surprise he really started out as a freestyle wrestler. He first started wrestling in middle school and was invited by a friend to wrestle on the junior high team. By his senior year of high school, his weight had dropped to 157 pounds, and his freestyle wrestling career had begun. He became a state champion both at junior high and high school.
“We have to start somewhere,” Smith said. “I always felt like my wrestling was getting better. I had a really good coach and good teammates, so that was the best place for