A year after taking bronze at the 2011 World Championships, Jake Varner claimed gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
To reach the finals, Varner, a four-time NCAA finalist and two-time champion for Iowa State, defeated 2008 Olympic silver medalist Georgi Gogshelidze of Georgia. Gogshelidze won a World title for Russia in 2001 before competing for Georgia. Gogshelidze also earned a 2006 World silver medal and World bronze in 2009 and 2010. He would go on to win bronze.
In the finals, Varner squared off with Ukraine’s Valerii Andriitsev, a 2007 Junior World champion and a 2010 World University Championships silver medalist. Andriitsev would go on to earn World bronze in 2014 and place fifth at the 2016 Olympic Games.