Varner was an underrated and understated Gold Medalist in London


Some people do their work in solitude and shun the spotlight. Others like the glare and bask in it. Jake Varner is the former.

He is also an Olympic Gold Medalist.

Since departing Iowa State after his college career, Varner trained out of the spotlight in Pennsylvania with Cael Sanderson.

Upon arrival in London for the Olympics, Varner and his U.S. teammates went to Belarus for a week of preparation away from the games’ glare.

Varner earned gold with wins over wrestlers from Uzbekistan (1-0, 0-1, 1-0), Canada (1-0, 1-0), Georgia (0-2, 1-0, 1-0) and Ukraine (1-0, 1-0).

Not much scoring. Not much hoopla. Just wins. That’s the Varner way.

A singular focus on preparation was a key according to his coach. He wasn’t the favorite for gold.

“He’s been dedicated (to the task),” Sanderson said. “(After putting the practice time in) he sat in his room, resting and focusing on what it takes to win. That’s why he won.”

There’s a certain charm to an understated champion. You know you are the best, but you don’t have to say so.

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