With Cael Sanderson watching, Jake Varner defeated Valerie Andriitsev of Ukraine 1-0, 1-0 to win gold in men's 212-pound freestyle.
Coupled with Jordan Burroughs' win at 163-pounds Friday night, it gave the American team multiple Olympic gold medalists in men's wrestling for the first time since 1996.
"Still not sure I'm in his league, but it's awesome to be coached by a guy like that," Varner said of Sanderson, a gold medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics. "I owe him a lot. It means a lot to have him with me."
Varner will also collect a $250,000 bonus from the Living the Dream fund, which supports American wrestling.
Varner fell to his knees once the clock ticked down to zero, soaking in the fact that he'd just accomplished the biggest goal of his life. He soon found Sanderson, embracing the friend who helped make it all possible with a leaping bear hug.
"Jake watched Cael win a gold medal as a kid. Came to Iowa State because he had that same goal. When they were there, Cael mentored him, coached him and became his friend," U.S. freestyle coach Zeke Jones said.
"From that moment, they had a dream together that said, 'I want to be the best in the world. I want to be the best in the world. And Jake did and Cael got to be a part of that."
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