The United States wrestling team picked up their second gold medal on Sunday as Iowa State All-American Jake Varner won his bracket at 96kg (211lbs).
Varner joins teammate Jordan Burroughs who also wrangled a gold medal on Friday during his competition at 74kg.
A student of famed American wrestler and fellow Olympic gold medalist Cael Sanderson, Varner picked up his gold going through a tough tournament of competitors at the 2012 games in London.
Varner worked under Sanderson at their respective alma mater Iowa State, and following Sanderson’s move to Penn State University to become their head coach, his prodigy traveled quickly as well to continue work towards the 2012 games.
To capture the gold medal, Varner defeated Ukranian Valerie Andriitsev 1-0, 1-0, to give the U.S. team their second top prize at the Olympics, and fourth medal in wrestling overall.
Andriitsev made his way to the finals after Olympic favorite and world champion Reza Yazdani had to drop out of their match after suffering a leg injury just after the bout started.
Varner battled valiantly throughout all of his matches, even when he was on the ropes early against Georgian George Gogshelidze. After losing the first period of their match, Varner came back to win the second after a tiebreaker, and then picked up the win with another victory in the final round.
Varner not only wins the gold medal but also takes home $250,000 as a reward from ‘Living the Dream’ a foundation that supports American wrestling.