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Lansing native wrestler Kyle Dake qualifies for the Paris Olympics

Nine days after the death of his father, Lansing native Kyle Dake decisively secured his second Olympic berth Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College, Pennsylvania.

Dake defeated Jason Nolf in both matches in the best-of-three finals of the men’s 74-kilogram freestyle class at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Nolf defeated six-time world champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs 3-0 in the final of the challenge tournament on Friday to earn a shot at the final.

Dake, who earned a bye to the finals, secured a spot on Team USA for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris with a 3-1 victory in the second match on Saturday night. That followed a 4-1 win over Nolf earlier in the day.

After the win, an emotional Dake spoke about his father, Doug Dake, during a television interview with NBC Sports. Doug died on April 11 at the age of 62.

“It’s been a long, long road,” Dake said. “My dad got really sick at the beginning of this year and he passed away last week. He was the reason I started wrestling. I just miss him so much.”

Doug Dake coached wrestling at Lansing High School and was an assistant coach at Cornell University. In 1999, he was inducted into the Kent State Athletic Hall of Fame in recognition of his wrestling achievements at Ohio University.

More: Burdett’s Olivia Coffey earns a spot in Paris for another shot at an Olympic medal

Kyle was a two-time state champion at Lansing and a four-time national champion at Cornell. Dake said it was good to be surrounded by family on Saturday, including his wife Megan and their children.

“We just really had to lean on each other,” he said. “He was everything to us. Gone way too soon, but it’s special to have everyone here and together and to know that he’s just watching over us.”

From 2021: Family has played a key role in Kyle Dake’s Olympic journey

Dake contributes to legendary career

Dake, 33, is a four-time world champion and won a bronze medal in the men’s 74-kilogram freestyle at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. He won silver at the 2023 World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.

After winning his fourth world title in September 2022, Dake and his family moved to State College. He now trains at Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, of which Nolf is also a member.

The Olympic Games in Paris will be held from July 24 to August 11. Wrestling starts on August 5.

Follow Andrew Legare on Twitter: @SGAndrewLegare. You can also reach him at [email protected]. To get unlimited access to the latest news, subscribe or activate your digital account today