2011 World champ Burroughs now shoots for Olympic gold

Updated: July 2, 2012

By Mike Finn

(Editor’s Note: This is the eighth of 11 weekly previews of this summer’s Olympics in London. In last week’s WIN eNews, we looked at the 145.5-pound weight class in men’s freestyle after first examining the 121 and 132-pound weight class in men’s freestyle and all the women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman classes in previous weeks. Next week, WIN will preview the fifth of seven men’s freestyle weight classes — 185 pounds — before the start of the Games on August 5. A complete preview of America’s entries in London can be found at https://www.win-magazine.com/2012-olympics-preview)


Jordan Burroughs (left) used his unstoppable double leg takedown to beat Iranian Sadegh Goudarzi for a gold medal in last September's World Championships.












74 kilos / 163 pounds (Competition held Aug. 10)

U.S. Entry: Jordan Burroughs, 23, Sicklerville, N.J.

Before Burroughs ended a remarkable 2011 calendar year with his second NCAA title at Nebraska, WIN’s Hodge Trophy and a World title, the former New Jersey high school state champion from Winslow Township had not competed in freestyle since finishing tenth in the 2008 Junior Worlds.

Now this former Cornhusker is considered the man to beat in London … after winning all five bouts at the World Championships last fall. Among his biggest victories was a come-from-behind 1-3, 1-0, 2-1 win over Russia’s two-time World champion Denis Tsargush and a 3-2, 4-1 gold-medal triumph over Iran’s three-time World medalist Sadegh Goudarzi.

The last time the United States won a gold medal near this weight class came in 2000 when Brandon Slay upset Russia’s three-time Olympic champion and seven-time World titlist Bouvaisa Saitiev in Sydney, Australia, in the 167-pound weight class.

In 2004, when the weight class changed to 163 pounds, Joe Williams finished fifth in Athens, Greece. Ben Askren settled for seventh in Beijing in 2008. In the two Worlds before Burroughs claimed gold, Dustin Schlatter (the former Minnesota NCAA champion) and (former Iowa State All-American) Trent Paulson each went 0-1 in 2009 and 2010, respectively.


Top Medal Challengers

• Denis Tsargush, Russia — The 24-year-old, before losing to Jordan Burroughs, nearly made his countrymen forget the legendary Bouvaisa Saitiev when the 2007 Junior World champion also captured gold in his first two World tournaments in 2009 and 2010. But he lost some of his luster last September in Turkey, where he also lost a second-round consolation bout to Venezuela’s Ricardo Moreno and settled for 11th place.


• Sadegh Goudarzi, Iran — Also 24 years old, Goudarzi has done nearly everything on the World/Olympic level except win a gold medal. In 2009, three years after he finished second in the Junior Worlds, the Iranian claim a bronze medal in Herning, Denmark, where his only loss in five bouts was to Tsargush. In 2010, he lost again to the Russian in the gold-medal match in Moscow, before settling for a second consecutive silver medal last fall. Before losing to Burroughs, Goudarzi won five matches, including a third-round win over 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Murad Gaidarov of Belarus.


• David Khutishvili, Georgia — Before claiming a bronze medal in last year’s World Championships — where his only loss in six bouts was to Iran’s Sadegh Goudarzi in the quarterfinals and where he defeated 2010 World bronze medalist Abdulhakim Shapiev of Kazahkstan — the 21-year-old won a Junior World championship in 2010.