Hamid Soryan ended that drought on Sunday, and he might not be the only Iranian to win a gold in London.
Soryan, the five-time world champion, won his country's first gold medal in men's 55-kilogram, beating Rovshan Bayramov of Azerbaijan 2-0, 1-0.
"I'm hoping that I made everybody happy back home," Soryan said.
Iran has 30 overall medals in freestyle but had only two, a silver and a bronze, in Greco-Roman before Sunday. The Iranians also have a pair of Greco-Roman world champions in Omid Noroozi at 60 kilograms and Saeid Morad Abdvali at 66 kg, and both are considered the favourite in their respective classes.
Roman Vlasov of Russia won gold as well on Sunday, defeating Armenia's Arsen Julfalakyan 1-0, 1-0 in the final of the men's 74-kilogram category.
The 21-year-old Vlasov, who hails from the same Siberian city of Novosibirsk that produced wrestling great Aleksandr Karelin, now has Olympic gold to add to a 2011 world championship title.
There was a lot of pressure on Vlasov to win gold. He didn't disappoint, and he's in position to dominate this weight class for years to come.
"It has not sunk in yet that I have the gold medal. I am just so happy," Vlasov said. "The whole country has supported me, has rooted for me. This is a success of the whole country."
Soryan has been the best Greco-Roman wrestler in the world at his weight for years, but he stumbled badly in Beijing and finished fifth. He bounced back with world titles in 2009 and '10, but only an Olympic gold would make up for 2008.
Soryan didn't waste his second chance.
He scored two late points to win the first frame. Bayramov then needed either a pin — which was highly unlikely — or to win the last two periods. But when Soryan scored midway through the second period, the match was all but over.
"Beijing was a bit of experience and I've used that experience to achieve this victory," Soryan said.
Bayramov, the defending world champion, lost in the Olympic final for the second straight time after falling to Nazir Mankiev of Russia in Beijing. He seemed overcome by the thought of another silver medal, briefly putting his hands to his face when he was announced to the crowd.
Sensing this, fans began clapping harder as if to let Bayramov know that, in their eyes, he'd done all he could do.
Julfalakyan was trying to join his father and coach, Levon Julfalakyan, a gold medallist for the Soviet Union in 1988, as the first father-son duo to win Olympic gold medals.
Vlasov wasn't having any of that.
The Russian was shaky at the outset, dropping the first period against Denmark's Mark Madsen in his opening match. Vlasov kept France's Christophe Guenot from scoring in the last 30 seconds of the third period to reach the semifinals, where he closed out Lithuania's Aleksandr Kazakevic 3-0, 1-0.
Julfalakyan hadn't conceded a point in reaching the finals, where he was overwhelmed by Vlasov.
"I respect him as an opponent. His father was an Olympic champion and every meeting I have with him is a difficult one," Vlasov said.
As expected, the Americans didn't get very far.
Spenser Mango won his first match over Egypt's Abouhalima Abouhalima, but Bayramov had little trouble with him in his next match, winning 4-0, 4-0. Mango dropped the first match of the consolation bracket to Russia's Mingiyan Semenov 2-0, 1-0.
"Work hard, that's all I can do, and come back in 2016," Mango said.
Ben Provisor also won his first match before Georgia's Zurabi Datunashvili beat him 1-0, 6-0. Provisor stopped wrestling after his elbow popped out, though he was unlikely to win anyway.Suggest a correction