Lets all make sure that we are appreciating a couple of things right now. Before Rio even happens, we need to recognize what we have been able to witness over the last 7+ years. Jordan Burroughs is a Mount Rushmore of USA Wrestling guy, and it is happening now. Not in 1972, or the late 80's and early 90's, when you had to be in the building to hope to watch their matches. This is in the best time ever to be a wrestling fan. Streaming video, commentary, and blogs to keep you in the mix of what happened across the world, and who Jordan Burroughs just beat. It's happening for all of us to consume, but let's take a moment to reflect on JUST how spectacular this ride has already been. Jordan Burroughs is Cedar Point without waiting in lines. Let's start from when I first remember watching Jordan Burroughs.
Please take a moment to breathe this all in. This semi finals match includes a total of 6 National Championships, 8 NCAA Finalists, 7 World Team Members, and 2 up and coming MMA stars. That doesn't even include Burroughs golds which he is so keen on bringing home on a regular basis. This was when I first noticed Burroughs and what he was capable of. The following year I watched live as he dismantled Mike Poetta in the NCAA Finals on his first of two NCAA titles. There aren't too many people who get to do that, but the fashion that he did it in, and the competition that he beat on his way to those wasn't a joke. He beat Jordan Leen, who was the defending NCAA Champ during the season, Andrew Howe at Midlands, and Tyler Caldwell in the finals. We knew what he was capable of, but we had no clue it would happen so quickly.
One of the greatest regrets that I have in life is not finding the betting line for this in 2011 and putting as much money as I could muster up (it would have been about $127 back then) on JB to bring home gold. I knew that they had changed the rules, I knew that his double leg was something that people worldwide wouldn't be ready for, and maybe I was a bit naive on the competition across the world but I knew that he was the surest bet on the planet. As I started learning more about the competition he would be facing, I began to feel a bit more confident, with the exception of the defending World Champion, Denis Tsargush of Russia. It wasn't necessarily that I was worried he was going to be better than Jordan technically (again, I was naive), but I knew he had a reputation for bending the rules and doing what would help him win (funny he never failed a drug test to my knowledge). I knew that when they wrestled early on in the World Championships, that this was the match that would decide the gold medal.
Let's also remember the archaic rules from 2011. Best of 3 two minute periods, one point takedowns, anything out of bounds was ruled a step out. The match begins with JB being out foxed on what looked like to be a sure takedown for him. He gives up one, gets one of his own, and then Tsargush gets a fist full of singlet and uses it to secure a single let, almost ripping it off in the process. It's somehow not overturned, because fuck Fila, and then Jordan Burroughs begins to do Jordan Burroughs things. He secures some takedowns, evades some late flurries from T-Dog, and makes his way onto the quarter finals... That's right. JB knocked off the defending world champ in the second round of the tournament on his way to what can only be described as a half a decade of international terrorism on the 74kg weight class.
After his 2011 World Championship, and subsequent shoe deal, JB had his sights set on the more elusive (you know, with the every 4 years thing) Olympic Gold Medal. Did JB just catch the world by storm in 2011? In my eyes, no chance. There was no way that his twitter handle, @alliseeisgold, wasn't true. One of my other biggest regrets (and I don't have many), is not doubling down on JB to win the Olympic Gold. Again, his main competition in my eyes was Russia's own Denis "the serial cheater" Tsargush. Sure enough, the meet again, this time in the Semi Finals rather than the second round (how the hell they don't keep this from happening is beyond me).
A couple takeaways from this match. First of all, JB is able to get the first series of points by making Tsargush forget to wrestle and worry about clubbing JB's head. Jordan catches him with a double into a leg lace and a push out. Second, the Russian coaches look like the guy at the gym that you never actually see work out, just lurking around the locker rooms waiting to get naked. Third, all the cheating in the world and creepy naked gym guy coaches can't protect you from Jordan Burroughs in Asics. Once again, Jordan Burroughs wins the tournament that decides the best wrestlers on the planet Earth.
They're here!!! Jordan Burroughs gets his shoes, the rules change to allow takedowns to count for two points, they went back to two 3 minute periods, all was right with the world. Although these rumors start floating around about Jordan Burroughs breaking his ankle 4 weeks before the World Championships. Those rumors turn out to be fact, and it begins to look like Kyle Dake, the alternate, will be wrestling in the World Championships. He won't, JB decides to lace up his JB Elites and proceed to win another World Championship, only giving up 3 points throughout the whole tournament. Now is a great time to look back at JB's domestic conquests. Here is a list of the people he has defeated, and their accolades, to make the World/Olympic Team;
- Andrew Howe, NCAA results, 2nd, 1st, 3rd, 2nd.
- Kyle Dake, 4x NCAA Champion at 4 weight classes. Hodge Trophy Winner.
- David Taylor, 4x NCAA Finalist, 2x NCAA Champ, 2x Hodge Trophy Winner.
Jordan Burroughs' domestic wins are over people who very well could have (and I truly believe would have) placed top 3 in the world in any of those years. Two of those three have since bumped up weight classes, and the other may be done competing internationally after this Olympic cycle. Anyway, we can remember 2013 as the year that we learned that Jordan Burroughs may not be human, but actually a mutant like Wolverine with super fast healing powers.
"Even the sun goes down, heroes eventually die
Horoscopes often lie and sometimes "y"
nothin' is for sure nothin' is for certain nothin' lasts forever
But until they close the curtain
it's him & I Aquemini" - Outkast, Aquemini
Here is the thing to keep in mind. Jordan Burroughs is the greatest wrestler on the planet and his 3rd place finish at the 2014 World Championships is what people sometimes need to push themselves to be even greater. Like MJ and the Bulls losing to the Magic, this loss reignites the flame of competitiveness that even the greatest need to keep getting better. Does JB make excuses? Nope. I will though, he had a sprained MCL, which he suffered in the first match of the tournament. He ran into Denis Tsargush in the semi finals (why does this keep happening), where Tsargush was able to beat the champ en route to his third world championship. Since 2009, only two people have won gold medals at 74kg's. Denis Tsargush and Jordan Burroughs. With Jordan Burroughs being the greatest wrestler on the planet, it's very possible that over those couple years, Tsargush was the second best, they just happened to be at the same weight class. Anyway, avenging the previous losses against JB this way is like when your friend pauses the game, and you un-pause it to beat them. Regardless, he won, JB placed third, and it was confirmed that JB is in fact human.
The scene was Las Vegas Nevada. Jordan Burroughs coming off of his first international loss of his career. For the first time in his career, he saw gold around the neck of someone else, and he wasn't fond of it. With his JB Elite 2.0's, and wrestling in his own Country, he was ready to reclaim his spot on top of the world. Jordan Burroughs reminded the world what he does, and that's tech his opponent in the gold medal match of the World Championships. In fact, he tech'd half of the opponents he wrestled against in this tournament, and only gave up 5 total points. Here are some highlights.
For the fourth time in five tries, Jordan Burroughs wins the tournament that decides the best wrestlers on the planet. I'm not telling you anything that you don't already know, I just want to make sure we all appreciate Jordan Burroughs for being the greatest champion that USA Wrestling has ever seen. The competition that he's beaten, both domestically and internationally, is second to none. This is all before he even competes in Rio for the 2016 Olympics, and he just recently let us know that we will have 4 more years of this! Jordan Burroughs will dominate the world for 2.5 presidency's, and we have the fortune of watching wherever and whenever we want. I repeat, this is the greatest time in the history of wrestling to be a fan, and if we don't stop and smell the roses, truly appreciate what we are watching, then it would be a shame. Please share with your friends who are casual fans, exactly what they are watching, and continue to support JB and the rest of the USA Olympic team on their quest for another Championship. All he see's is gold, and that confidence and aggressive mindset is contagious.