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London 2012: American Jake Varner Wins Freestyle Wrestling Gold at 96kg

Jake Varner Gold Medal Freestyle Wrestling London 2012
Jake Varner Gold Medal Freestyle Wrestling London 2012

In the final wrestling match of the 2012 Olympics, Jake Varner defeated Ukraine's Valeri Andritsev to claim the United State's second freestyle gold medal. Varner only needed two periods, both of which he won 1-0. Varner won with his typical style, impregnable in defense and opportunistic on offense.

In the semi-finals Varner defeated Georgia's Georgi Gogshelidze, a past world champion and Olympic medalist. Gogshelidze would go on to win bronze. Last year's world champion, and a favorite at this weight, Iran's Reza Yazdani, suffered a catastrophic knee injury and had to default in the semi-finals.

Varner's draw in this tournament showed him a great deal of favor, but at the end of the day he stands alone atop the ninety-six kilogram weight class, the toughest weight class in the world.

This marks the first time the United States has earned multiple gold medals in freestyle wrestling since the 1996 games in Atlanta. The unofficial team score in London shows the United States in third place, narrowly behind Russia and Georgia. Varner's gold medal helps cement the USA's status as one of the top freestyle wrestling nations in the world.

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