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Burroughs Dethroned

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Jordan Burroughs suffers first career loss at Olympic Trials to long-time rival Kyle Dake

U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Wrestling
Jordan Burroughs reacts after being beat by Kyle Dake in their Freestyle 74kg finals match on day 2 of the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials at Dickies Arena on April 03, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A dynasty was taken down on Saturday night.

Jordan Burroughs has been Team USA’s representative at 76kg at every single World and Olympic Championships since bursting onto the scene in 2011. That stranglehold on a weight class saw its end Saturday night when Burroughs fell to Kyle Dake 3-0, 3-2 in a best-of-three final.

U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Wrestling Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

For Burroughs, who is 32 and has over 200 senior level matches under his belt, it could mean he’s passing the torch. As much as it kills him to do so. Dake himself is a 2-time World Champion and seems to be in the prime of his career despite being 30 years old.

The first match started with a lot of hand fighting but no real offense to speak of outside of a push-out by Dake to take a 1-0 lead. In the second period, Burroughs took a couple of meaningful shots, but the first shot by Burroughs was turned into points for Dake with a takedown and the second shot, a signature blast double, was defended beautifully by Dake’s sprawl. Dake took match one 3-0.

U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Wrestling
Burroughs defending a leg lace attempt by Kyle Dake in Match 1 Saturday night at the Olympic Wrestling Trials.
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

In Match 2, Burroughs started with one of his go-to moves. You often see him drop his level down to his hands and knees. If his opponent doesn’t drop their level, he can blast a double-leg. If they do drop down, he can still blast a double-leg, but he has to put his face through his opponent’s face. Which he’s proven to be willing to do.

So, when Burroughs dropped down, so did Dake. I imagine it’s something Dake’s been working on, but realizing he was in that position, Dake immediately reached out and pushed forward to put Burroughs in a front headlock, eliminating the threat of the Burroughs shot. Dake then circled around Burroughs and drove him out of bounds. The initial call was a takedown for two points for Dake, but Burroughs told his corner men (Nebraska head coach Mark Manning and associate head coach Bryan Snyder) to throw the challenge brick. The call was changed to a 1-point step-out because Burroughs’ knees never hit the mat as he landed in a quad-pod position.

Down 1-0, Burroughs shot another double-leg late in the first period, but Dake again exhibited great defense to fend off the attack.

In the second period, Burroughs shot in on a leg but Dake was again able to stuff the shot and run the corner for the takedown to go up 3-0. Dake stuffed another double by Burroughs before being put on the shot clock for passivity. After 30 seconds, Burroughs was awarded a point. In the final 20 seconds, Burroughs put on an all-out sprint and was able to score a step-out point but wasn’t able to come back, falling 3-2.

Burroughs vowed that he’s not done. I don’t believe he is. He seems to have a lot left in him.

Also competing this weekend was James Green, the 4-seed at 65kg in men’s freestyle, and Tanner Farmer who was seeded No. 6 at 130kg in Greco-Roman.

In his first match, a quarterfinal match against 5-seed Joey McKenna, Green took an early 1-0 lead when McKenna was put on the shot clock for passivity and didn’t score in the 30-second period. In the second period, Green was unable to penetrate McKenna’s defense, but the former Buckeye was able to get Green down and into a leg lace with two turns (2 points each) for a 8-1 lead. McKenna scored two more takedowns to win by tech fall 12-1.

Green forfeited out of the back side of the bracket.

Tanner Farmer, who won the Team USA Last Chance Olympic Qualifier last weekend, fell in his first match 6-2 to 3-seed Jacob Mitchell. Farmer did score a late reversal, but it was too little too late.

In his second match, Farmer took on Don Longendyke and fell by pinfall in the second period.