Jake Varner is the United States wrestler who is tasked with the job of going after the 96 kilogram (211.5 pounds) gold medal in London. Cael Sanderson is one of the best technical wrestlers of all time and a gold-medal winner in the 2004 Athens Olympic games at the 84 kilogram weight class.
Lucky for Jake, Cael Sanderson is his coach. The man who had one of the longest win streaks in NCAA history going 159-0 and winning four NCAA championships has been an excellent mentor for the young Varner. Varner is a great wrestler and the guidance from Sanderson will only help his chase towards gold.
Bruises, cuts, scrapes and welts are things that wrestlers wear as badges of honor from tough training and honest, hard work. Bryce Miller of Indystar.com quoted the legendary Sanderson about their Olympic training regimen:
“I just went two matches with him and he pretty much just beat the crap out of me,” Sanderson said at the U.S. team’s training facility at the University of East London. “And that’s why I’ve got to see the trainer more than he does.”
When one guy is an Olympic gold medalist, and he is the one wearing the welts and bruises, it makes you wonder who the truly better wrestler is. If Jake Varner is someone who is repeatedly dominating a college wrestling legend, there will be no question as to who the American's best hope for gold is.
Sanderson is proving to be more than just a tackling dummy. He's been able to embark some of his knowledge into the 26-year-old Iowa State Cyclone both as his college coach and his Olympic coach and teach him the top-notch technique that turned him into the best college wrestler of all time.
Jordan Burroughs has all the expectations for gold on the United States wrestling roster. However, Varner isn't facing the same expectations that the dominant Burroughs is facing. Jordan is expected to win gold while Varner is just expected to compete. The lack of expectations can help take pressure off a guy and let him just go out and wrestle.
So while the world is looking at Burroughs, Varner is really going to be the top candidate for a gold medal from London's wrestling competition. It's in a division just under the one that Alexander Karelin dominated for years.
Maybe Varner can use the training from Sanderson to do the same, but he's going to have to start his quest in London.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist and Trends and Traffic Writer for Bleacher Report. As a Featured Columnist, he covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.