Jordan Burroughs walked away with gold and a cheque for a quarter of a million dollars after becoming the United States' first Olympic wrestling champion of London 2012.

America has a long history of successful Olympic wrestling campaigns, but they had not won gold in London until Burroughs defeated Iran's Sadegh Goudarzi 1-0 1-0 in the -74kg freestyle event tonight.

The 24-year-old from New Jersey started competing in international tournaments less two years ago, but he showed no nerves, clinching the first period after taking the Iranian down.

The second period looked set for a stalemate until Burroughs picked up Goudarzi and dumped him off the mat with barely 10 seconds left.

In addition to his gold medal, Burroughs leaves London with a cash prize of $250,000 as part of a commitment by USA Wrestling to honour any wrestler who tops the podium at the Games.

Uzbekistan's Soslan Tigiev and Russian Denis Tsargush claimed bronze in the weight division.