One jumbo-sized persona will be missing from this weekend's U.S. Olympic wrestling trials at Penn State. Reigning gold medalist Gable Steveson, who won the men's freestyle heavyweight crown at the Tokyo Games in 2021, is not in the field and won't go to Paris to defend his title.

The wrestler famous for his post-match backflips has flip-flopped on the subject of chasing a second Olympic berth. Steveson, a former Gopher from Apple Valley, retired from amateur wrestling in 2022 after winning a second NCAA championship. He began training for a WWE career, then came back to the amateur side of the sport last April and in July steamrolled his way to a berth at the world championships.

Just 10 days before the world championship meet in September, Steveson withdrew, offering no explanation.

Though his previous performances qualified him for the Olympic trials, Steveson hasn't wrestled in the amateur ranks since last June. He made his in-ring WWE NXT debut in July against Baron Corbin, a match that ended in a double countout. More recently, he has competed in nontelevised bouts before televised WWE shows.

At the Tokyo Olympics, Steveson, then 21, trailed Geno Petriashvili, a three-time world champion from Georgia, 8-7 with 6.5 seconds left. Steveson stunned Petriashvili with two takedowns in the final 10 seconds for a 10-8 victory. The winning points came with 0.2 seconds on the clock.