Olympics 2012: Cael Sanderson mentors Jake Varner to gold

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LONDON — Cael Sanderson spent the past seven years teaching Jake Varner how to be a world champion — and he was there Sunday when Varner joined him as an Olympic gold medalist.

With Sanderson watching, Varner defeated Valerie Andriitsev of Ukraine 1-0, 1-0 to win gold in men’s 96-kilogram freestyle.

Coupled with Jordan Burroughs’ win in the 74 kilograms 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 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.

Sanderson said last week that Varner had pounded on him during training sessions leading up to the Olympics. Varner showed that good form by winning four straight matches for gold.

“He was going to get me to my ultimate goal, which was to win a gold medal at the Olympics — and that’s what he did,” Varner said.

Varner will also collect a $250,000 bonus from the Living the Dream Medal Fund, which supports American wrestling.

Sanderson said Varner was the same in the finals as in any other match.

“That’s one of the reasons he’s so good,” Sanderson said. “He has great composure. That, in addition to just living the lifestyle for a long time. He’s the man.”

Doping: IOC chief Rogge praises successful enforcement effort

Anti-doping efforts to keep the London Games clean have been hailed as a success by International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.

Through Sunday morning, only one athlete tested positive for a banned substance on the day of competing at the Olympics. Seven more were caught in doping controls conducted since the official games testing period began July 16. One of the seven competed in London before her test result was known.

“I think that is a sign that the system works,” Rogge said at a news conference. “I am happy about the fact that we could catch athletes who cheated, both before the games and at the games.”

Rogge said a further 117 out-of-competition cases were recorded since April, preventing athletes from ever getting to the games.

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