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Jordan Burroughs: Gold medalist speaks about Olympic wrestling, NJSIAA state title in 2006

March 19th, 2013 by Tom

Jordan Burroughs

Jordan Burroughs began his wrestling career as a five year old and by 24 he has won an NJSIAA state title, two NCAA championships, a world championship and a gold medal at the London Olympics. Burroughs spoke with The Star-Ledger this week to talk about, the International Olympic Committee's decision to drop wrestling from the Games, beginning in 2020, his recent experience in Iran at the wrestling World Cup and a March weekend, in 2006, when he won his state title.

The Star-Ledger: Some have said the reason for the IOC's decision to cut wrestling is that is too elemental a sport and it doesn't appeal to the general public for that reason. As a participant and a fan of wrestling, what is it that you appreciate about the sport?

Jordan Burroughs: I definitely appreciate the individual aspect of it. It is one of the few sports that is hand-to-hand combat. Everything you do is based upon your own training. If you have weakness, it is exposed, and your strength is evident. Unlike, say, football or basketball, it's you on your own. When you compete, the commitment you've made to sport will show.

It's one of the few sports where you can impose your will on someone else. Some see it as barbaric, but it's about timing, reaction, what your response is to your opponent and the ability to manipulate the body and movement of your opponent. Some see UFC as awesome but sports like that are a spinoff of wrestling, one of the origin sports ever created.

SL: When did you start wrestling?

JB: I started at five. I brought home a flyer one day from elementary school. No one in my family had ever wrestled. My teammates became friends and I got more into it. I was super tiny growing up, a late bloomer in terms of physical development, but I didn't have to be big to excel.

SL: Was being tinier growing up an advantage for you as you grew bigger?

JB: One of the other aspects I enjoy about the sport is weight classes. Everyone is the same size in your specific class. In hoops, guys are 6-1 and some are 7-1. In wrestling, the winner is the guy that trains the hardest, is more mentally tough, has the better skill set. There are no advantages in wrestling -- the playing field is even as possible.

SL: To what extent did your goal of an Olympics gold motivate you during training?

JB: It was huge. Every day I practiced and I was sore, or didn't feel like it, or didn't feel as committed, the days I had to make weight, I was envisioning myself on top of the podium, with my family watching, with the gold medal on my neck, carrying that flag. This is the life I chose, the sport I chose, the occupation I chose. When things were tough, I thought about those goals.

SL: What kind of weight does an Olympic medal carry, compared to, say, a world title or NCAA title?

JB: I wrestled two of the same guys at worlds as at the Olympics. but when I won in 2011 people said, 'Oh cool.' When I won at the Olympics, people said 'Oh my God, you're the Olympic champion!' It was the biggest event of my lifetime. I think it's definitely the most thing important thing an amateur wrestler can accomplish.

SL: Do you plan on wrestling in 2016 in Rio?

JB: I do plan on being in Brazil, and continuing to compete. I'm feeling good. I'm still hungry. I love this sport and I'll continue wrestling until I'm not having fun anymore. It's something I'm passionate about.

SL: What happens to the sport if it's dropped by the Olympics?

JB: I don't know what direction the sport will go. On a youth level, wrestling will still be big. Collegiately, guys can still get scholarships and win titles. Worldwide there will be a lot of downsizing. Guys won't want to compete. It is the pinnacle of a wrestler's career. It will take some of glamor, the spotlight from the sport. Everyone who wrestles dreams of wrestling in the Olympics. Unfortunately, it will create bitterness towards the Olympics for a lot of wrestlers.

SL: When did you first realize you wanted to wrestle in the Olympics?

JB: The biggest thing for me was the '96 Olympics in Atlanta. I remember watching it in its entirety. I was eight, but I knew I wanted to be an Olympian. I ran track at the time and Michael Johnson was my favorite athlete. I didn't know if I wanted to become a wrestler or track athlete and it was the first Games I remember thinking I want to be there someday. And it came true.

SL: I remember, your Twitter account, heading into the Games. It was the first way a lot of people heard about you and came across as a bit audacious, perhaps, but, it also set the tone for your run in London.

JB: It was huge for me. It was a mind game. I manifested being the best in the world. I had a world title at that point in my career and I knew there would be competitors as well trained or with more technique than me but no one could match my motivation and mental toughness. I continued to tell myself I could win. I spoke it into existence.

SL: Part of the pressure of the Olympics is that it is such a fleeting moment. So much can change from one cycle to the next.

JB: Four years is a long time. Some guys get tired of the sport. Some have families so they have to take other jobs. A lot of guys are retiring. There are a lot of variables so very few have made multiple teams. The timing of the past Olympics was amazing for me. In Rio it will be better, and I'll be even more motivated. I'll have a better foundation to compete.

SL: This time around you were the young guy on the team.

JB: in Rio I'll be an old man. I'll be 28, which is relatively old for the sport. In London I was the youngest guy on the team at 24. The average age for a wrestler is about 26.

SL: What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an 'older' wrestler?

JB: Athletically, I will continue to get stronger. But speed is first thing to go. A big aspect for me is speed and quickness but in terms of positioning and technique I continue to improve. I've only been wrestling freestyle for three or four years. I will continue to improve. At 28, I'll be in my athletic prime. Leading up to the Games I'm only going to be getting bigger, stronger, faster.

SL: For those folks who don't know much about wrestling, can you describe freestyle?

JB: Freestyle is a different sport, almost. There are three two-minute periods, and the best two out of three wins. Each period, the score resets. Unlike how I grew up, there is no cumulative score. You get a point for a takedown, a point to push a guy out and two points for exposing your opponent's back.

SL: You've been active in promoting the sport in America. Have you been actively trying to reverse the IOC's decision?

The best thing I can do is to continue to wrestle, to gain notoriety and for my teammates to do that, as well. We need a variety of guys to continue to wrestle hard. This was a successful Olympics on our behalf. Americans want to know we can compete as a country against any other in the world.

SL:The NJSIAA state finals are this weekend. What are your memories of that weekend?

JB: That was awesome. It's all relative. People are like, 'You won Olympics!' But when I won my state title I thought that was then the coolest thing I ever did. I was so excited. It broke barriers to college wrestling. That was in 2006, when I was a senior, and it was my only title. I finished second as a junior.

In 2006, I wrestled Dave Greenwald from St. Mary's. I was ranked No. 1 going in but we had a wild match, 9-8 or something crazy. I've never seen, video of the match. It was the referee's decision at the end but I came away with the title. Colleges began recruiting me and I had the opportunity to go to the highest level collegiately. It was a great day in my career.

SL: You're now 43-0 wrestling internationally. What goes through your mind as you're about to take the mat before a match?

JB: It is a difficult moment. I recognize the fact that I've done everything possible to be the best. I've trained as hard as I can. I've had to make sacrifices to live my lifestyle correctly. I've put way too much into the sport to go out and wrestle timidly. I try not to let my ego get involved in winning or losing. If I perform and be crisp and sharp then winning will take care of itself.

SL: You recently competed at the World Cup in Iran. What were you expecting off the mat as you headed over there?

JB: I was nervous. I had a lot of bad views in terms of what I was going into. The media portrays Iran in a different light. I didn't know if it would be dangerous. I didn't know if I would be accepted as an American athlete. Our visas were only confirmed at the last minute. Once I got there they were extremely hospitable. The hotel was beautiful and the fans were awesome. I loved it and could see myself competing there again.

One of coolest thing about wrestling is it transcends all politics. Despite our governments seeing things differently, talk of nuclear weapons, arguments about oil, we can unite as athletes and fight for the sport. The sportsmanship in Iran is something I'd never been a part of. In Iran, I was received with more excitement than ever in America. People were excited to meet an Olympic gold medalist. They appreciated the commitment it took to reach that level in athletics. In America, success is defined in a number of ways; it is difficult to put a finger on it. Success in Iran is being a good wrestler. It is their national sport. it's their baseball.

SL: So, in Iran you're a household name?

JB: Definitely. They escorted me to front of line for passport control at the airport. When I would go get breakfast at this breakfast place, they wanted to come from behind counter to take pictures with me. I had to be escorted out of the arena after matches by security. People wanted hugs and pictures. I was like a rockstar.

It didn't matter I was American. I was an Olympic gold medalist.

Jordan Burroughs Wrestling Diet

October 22nd, 2012 by Tom

This video was made before the Olympics,but it's, defiantly, worth the watch!

Wrestlers think about food a lot. Adding calories when they're training hard and cutting calories when they're trying to make weight.

World champ wrestler Jordan Burroughs takes us to the Olympic Training Center cafeteria in Colorado Springs to give us the inside scoop on what he eats.

Jordan Burroughs teaching defense on your feet at FCA Wrestling Camp.

October 21st, 2012 by Tom

Watch and learn!

Asics Rainbow Wrestling Shoes

October 2nd, 2012 by Tom

You've never seen a pair of wreslting shoes like this!

These are one of a kind Asics Split Seconds, and Jordan Burroughs has them.

They include every color of the rainbow and look pretty damn sweet!

What to you think? Would you buy them if you could?

Ultimate Jordan Burroughs Wrestling Highlight Video

September 9th, 2012 by Tom

Jordan Burroughs is an American and Olympic freestyle wrestling, champion. These are some of his highlights!

Burroughs Displays The Olympic Midas Touch.

August 12th, 2012 by Tom

by Maurice D. Proffit

The promise that shook the amateur wrestling world did happen to con to fruition indeed., Jordan Burroughs, wins the Olympic Gold Medal in freestyle Mens wrestling at 74 kilograms to bring the gold home to the United State of America.

A year ago Jordan changed his twitter handle to @alliseeisgold and it seemed as if the spirit of his twitter handle was with him in his championship match.

His championship match was against Iran's Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi, by defeating Goudarzi 1-0, 1-0. Burroughs went into his championship with full confidence of knowing that he would come out the victor and on top within this match.

The promise that Burrough made was on Thursday, on twitter when he stated that he would take a picture of the gold medal and tweet it out to all of his followers and one hour after his victory against Goudarzi, he made good on his promise.

Burrough is a native of new jersey and has been victorious in 38 straight international freestyle matches and in addition, was to be the first Olympian to claim the $250,000.00 prize from the Living the Dream Medal Fund, a program designed to support US wrestling.

Before this championship victory, the United States Mens Wrestling team looked as if they would go home without any medals, as the only medal winner for the United States was a bronze victory from Clarissa Chun in women's freestyle, but Burroughs made the difference for the United States.

When interviewed after his match, Burroughs stated that he has a lot of wrestling left in him and 2016 in Rio De Janerio may just be another repeat of this human highlight reel!

Jordan Burroughs Stops at Never : Video

April 22nd, 2012 by Tom

ASICS Athlete and champion freestyle wrestler Jordan Burroughs shares his thoughts on training, the future, and what Stop At Never means to him.

The wrestling shoes Jordan has on are ASICS Men's Omniflex Pursuit.

Jordan Burroughs: ‘I Definitely Want To Fight After I’m Done Wrestling’

December 2nd, 2011 by Tom

By Luke Thomas

Jordan Burroughs - Wrestler Jordan Burroughs, one of America's premier talents in amateur wrestling, tells MMA Nation he is 'definitely' interested in a career in mixed martial arts. The catch? We'll all have to wait until he's done wrestling.

If you follow college or amateur wrestling generally, the name Jordan Burroughs is not esoteric.

The New Jersey-native's list of wrestling accolades is almost peerless next to his American contemporaries. At the University of Nebraska, Burroughs was a two-time NCAA Division I national champion. In his senior year of 2011, Burroughs won the Dan Hodge Trophy, the equivalent of wrestling's Heisman Trophy. But perhaps most impressively, in his first year of wrestling at the international level Burroughs captured gold medals at both the 2011 Pan Am games and the World Championships at 74 kilograms. Incredibly, as the stakes get higher and the competition harder, the challenges only seem to fuel Burroughs' success and development.

So when Burroughs recently accepted a sponsorship from, MMA apparel company Cage Fighter, many in the fight industry wondered if a lateral move to MMA was imminent. After all, the precedent of even moderately successful wrestlers making successful transitions to MMA is well documented. If former Division I All-Americans can be UFC champions, what about world champion wrestlers?

In this interview with, MMA Nation on 106.7 The Fan, Burroughs discusses a potential future in mixed martial arts, being a UFC fan, who his favorite fighters are, the nature of wrestling in MMA and more.

view interview

Jordan Burroughs Wins First World Freestyle Wrestling Championship in Istanbul

September 28th, 2011 by Tom

Jordan Burroughs by KJ Gould

The 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Champion for Nebraska Jordan Burroughs became World Champion in Freestyle Wrestling in Instanbul, Turkey. Competing at 74 kg / 163 lbs, the one day event saw Burroughs wrestle four times to get to the finals, with a win over former champion Denis Tsargush of Russia in his second match.

Burroughs met Iranian Sadegh Goudarzi in the final and won 2 straight periods to win Gold. In the first period Burroughs scored the first point early with a takedown to out of bounds but Goudarzi promptly returned the favor with his own and got control giving him 2 points. Two more takedowns for Burroughs edged him in the first period 3-2 with Goudarzi out of time before he could get a takedown of his own.

The second period saw a lot of feeling out by both men from a tie-up for the first minute, until Burroughs scored a takedown to out of bounds for 1 point. What happened next is a little unclear. Goudarzi tries for a takedown, Burroughs defends and counters in a great scramble getting two points but during the reset Goudarzi gets a point as well. It may be the referee called for something illegal on Burroughs part who was controlling from the back with an ankle pick that could be seen as cranking a toehold. After a long pause with 12 seconds left on the clock Burroughs gets a takedown and with 6 seconds left maintains his 4-1 point advantage to win the match.

Burroughs is the first World Champion for Team USA since 2006 with Bill Zadick and joins a short list of USA's World and Olympic Champions in the last decade which only additionally includes Brandon Slay, Cael Sanderson and Henry Cejudo.