After winning a gold medal in wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics, a wealth of professional prospects and potential major opportunities made themselves available to Gable Steveson. Now, Steveson is set to join WWE while he tries to defend his most notable title in the United States.
On Thursday, WWE announced that they have signed Gable Steveson to an exclusive agreement in what is the WWE's first-ever name, image and likeness deal with a college athlete. Steveson will join the WWE roster while continuing to wrestle at the University of Minnesota, where he won and will defend the NCAA Division I national championship at heavyweight.
According to Mike Coppinger of ESPN, Steveson will train at a remote training facility set up by WWE near the University of Minnesota's campus. He will work with WWE coaches while attending school for his senior year. Upon his graduation next May, Steveson's multi-year contract with WWE will begin, and he will join the company as a full-time performer.
"I've been on WWE since I was really young," Steveson said. "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."
After becoming a gold medalist in Olympic heavyweight freestyle, Steveson stated in August that he was evaluating his options for his future as an athlete, which included anything from the WWE to returning to school to even pursuing an NFL career. In now joining WWE, Steveson becomes the first Olympic gold medalist to join the company since Kurt Angle, who signed after the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Steveson's joining the WWE will be a family affair as his brother Bobby Steveson recently joined the company as a new recruit to the WWE Performance Center. Bobby Steveson is currently training at the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, which his brother will also have access to.