Story by Craig Sesker of USA Wrestling
ISTANBUL, Turkey – Jordan Burroughs had not wrestled a freestyle match in nearly three years when he stepped on the mat for April’s U.S. Open.
Five months later, he’s a World champion.
Burroughs capped a phenomenal tournament and a memorable 2011 by sweeping 2010 World silver medalist Sadegh Goudarzi of Iran 3-2, 4-1 to capture a gold medal at the World Championships on Sunday night.
"It's an amazing feeling right now," Burroughs said. "A lot of people doubted that I could even make the team this year. I am here, and I did it. I am feeling really good right now."
Burroughs, 23, competing in his first Senior World Championships, becomes the first U.S. World champion in freestyle since Bill Zadick in 2006. Burroughs competes at 74 kg/163 lbs.
"It felt amazing to be out there. Iran has an amazing crowd," Burroughs said. "I didn't want them to get involved, so I did my part and stayed with my offense. I felt good. I did some scrambling finally in a freestyle match. My coach told me not to reach between the legs. This time, that paid off and I got two points."
The win by Burroughs also clinched third place for the U.S. in the team race. The U.S. finished with 38 points. Russia won the title with 43 points and Iran was second with 41. The U.S. made a quantum leap from last year where it finished 22nd with five points.
Burroughs earns $50,000 from the Living the Dream Medal Fund for winning his World gold medal.
Burroughs clapped his hands as the final seconds ticked off the clock and then he ran over to the corner and jumped into the arms of his college coach, Nebraska’s Mark Manning, before embracing U.S. National Coach Zeke Jones.