Burroughs refocused to start another winning streak

Updated: April 8, 2014

By Mike Finn

Jordan Burroughs calls it, “the most exciting six months of my life.”

The American freestyle superstar is speaking of the time period since capturing his second FILA World Championship on Sept. 18, 2013.

During that time, there was a beginning and an end to two important things in his life.

burroughs streakMost noticeably, the native of Camden, N.J., married the former Lauren Mariacher in her hometown of Buffalo, N.Y., on Oct. 12.

“Our wedding was an awesome event and the marriage is a continuing event that I continue to enjoy,” said Burroughs, who with Lauren make their home in Lincoln, Neb.

But Burroughs also saw his 69-freestyle match winning streak come to an end on Feb. 15, 2014, when the former two-time NCAA champion from Nebraska lost 4-4 to American Nick Marable at the Yasar Dogu International in Istanbul, Turkey, where he came back to win two matches and finish third.

As stunning as that result was — which ended up in major newspapers around the country — Burroughs also said it gave him “perspective.”

“I learned the fans are still going to love me, regardless how I performed and whether I get my hand raised or not,” he said. “A lot of times, I felt fearful of the response I would get in a loss.

“But after that loss, I realized it wasn’t the results but the actual process. Each and every person as a wrestler has experienced a loss. That happened multiple times during my high school and college career so losing wasn’t really new to me.

“I’ve been fortunate to see every dream and aspiration as a wrestler come true. NCAA champion, World champion and Olympic champion, World Cup champion. So for me to stand on the third-place podium (in Turkey), I didn’t look at it as a failure or disappointment. While the 69 straight wins was good, what’s even more important to me is the streak of three (World/Olympic) championships that I have.”

So what did Burroughs learn about his wrestling in the loss, which was determined by Marable scoring last.

“I learned I have to have a laser-sharp focus in every match,” Burroughs said. “I realize everyone is trying to win each and every match. These guys have pride, especially wrestling an American.

“They don’t care how long a winning streak is. They want to win too. They want a streak of their own. I have to understand that I have to make a commitment each and every match and go out and compete at a high level and be ready to scrap and be ready to fight because these guys are coming at me and trying to take away what I’ve established.”

After going 5-0 at the recent World Cup in Los Angeles, Burroughs will compete in the U.S. Open, April 17-19 in Las Vegas and then the World Team Trials, May 31-June 1 in Madison, Wisc., where he expects competition from the likes of Marable, Kyle Dake, David Taylor and Andrew Howe at 163 pounds.

“It’s the deepest weight class in the country,” Burroughs said. “That’s what we need to continue to push each other so we can continue to thrive on the international level. I know they are all capable of winning World and Olympic medals. I don’t want to give those guys the opportunity to do so.”