With Jake Varner Gold Medal at London 2012, Iowa Adds Another Wrestler to Rich Olympic Legacy
ISU wrestler and coach Cael Sanderson show that Iowa still holds sway.
The Olympic Wrestling Trials started in Iowa City this year, and with the state's rich history as a wrestling hotbed, it's not surprising that there would be Iowa ties for the winner of Olympic gold.
Yesterday, Jake Varner, a Bakersfield, CA, native and former Iowa State wrestler, defeated Valerie Andriitsev of Ukraine 1-0, 1-0 to win gold in men's 96-kilogram freestyle.
Varner's win gave the United States a rare second gold in Olympic wrestling in an olympic games.
Watching nearby was Cael Sanderson, himself an Olympic gold winner, who had a dominant career at Iowa State and recently coached Penn State University to another National Title, edging out such perennial favorites as the University of Iowa and Oklahoma State, much to the chagrin of Hawkeye fans.
Sanderson, who won Olympic gold in 2004, was at the match because he helped to train Varner for this Olympic games:
Varner and Sanderson's relationship began in 2005 at Iowa State, where Sanderson coached before jumping to Penn State. The day after Varner graduated in 2010, he piled up the car and drove 15 hours to Pennsylvania to train full-time with Sanderson.
Vander and Sanderson are part of a long legacy that includes maybe its most famous member, Dan Gable, who wrestled at Iowa State and won Olympic gold before coaching several dominant years at the University of Iowa.
As for the future of wrestling in Iowa, Des Moines will have the honors for hosting the next NCAA Wrestling Tournament this coming March. And with Iowa City's huge success as an Olympic trials host, there has already been talk about the city hosting again in 2016.