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Gable Steveson’s actual wrestling career is winding down, but thanks to WWE, the Olympic gold medalist’s entertainment career is just beginning.
The premier wrestling promotion announced Thursday that they had signed Steveson to a multi-year deal that allows for him to stay in college through graduation. Steveson, 21, currently attends the University of Minnesota, where he wrestles as a NCAA heavyweight.
The plan is for Steveson to defend his collegiate heavyweight title as a senior while also training remotely with WWE coaches. Steveson’s deal marks the first time the WWE has engaged with a college athlete in this new Name, Image, and Likeness era.
It’s not the first time that the WWE has dipped into ‘legitimate’ wrestling for talent, though. Kurt Angle famously won gold in Atlanta’s 1996 Olympics, and then went on to have a Hall of Fame career as a sports entertainer for multiple promotions. Steveson even mentioned Angle when asked about the historic deal.
“I’ve been on WWE since I was really young,” said Steveson. “I was on guys like Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman for a very long time. So growing up watching them, me being an entertainer on the wrestling mat, it just felt like it was the right choice.”
No word on how they’ll develop Steveson—Angle never took on a persona—but no matter what they decide, it will be fun to have a real gold medal wrestler back in the ring again.