Someone once said, “It ain’t bragging if it’s true.” It did not come true for Jordan Burroughs until he won the United States’ first London Olympics gold medal in the 74 kilogram division Friday night, so he can contend with an accomplishment to back it up that he has not been bragging.
Burroughs sure has been doing a lot of talking leading up to the games. The 24-year-old calls it confidence. But what does it say about someone whose Twitter handle is allIseeisgold?
Whatever you call him, you can add Olympic gold medalist to it. Burroughs supported up all his talk, beating Iran’s Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi 1-0, 1-0 to fulfill his words and dreams.
“A lot of people call it cocky, people call it overconfident,” Burroughs said. “But I knew I was going to win.”
Burroughs beat Denis Tsargush of Russia in a tight semifinal, then got past Goudarzi in a rematch of their world championship bout in 2011.
Burroughs, who grew up in New Jersey, has won 38 straight international freestyle matches and is the first Olympian to claim the $250,000 prize from the Living the Dream Medal Fund, a program designed to support U.S. wrestling.
An hour after beating Goudarzi, the tweet-happy Burroughs made good on his word, posting a shot of himself beaming beside his gold.
He won’t have to change that boastful handle either — at least not until the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
“It’s easy to be confident when you put the hard work in that I do,” Burroughs said.
Burroughs won his first two matches to set up a rematch with Tsargush, a two-time world champion that the U.S. star beat in the 2011 world championships en route to the title.
It turned out to be a true battle.
Burroughs dominated the first period. But Tsargush scored on a takedown in the second and kept himself alive to set up a thrilling final frame.
Burroughs and Tsargush circled the mat cautiously for about 90 seconds before Burroughs — one of the quickest wrestlers in the world — launched himself at Tsargush’s legs for a takedown.
Burroughs opened the scoring in the final when he notched a double-leg takedown of Goudarzi with just nine seconds left in the first period. He clinched the final with a similar move late in the second.
The gold brought a deep sense of relief for the medal-starved Americans. The U.S. entered Friday with just one medal; a bronze won by women’s freestyler Clarissa Chun. Burroughs was by far the best hope the U.S. had for a gold, and the fear was that if he fell short the Americans would go home without one.
As it turned out, they should have just listened to Burroughs all along.
“He can be the face of American wrestling,” U.S. freestyle coach Zeke Jones said. “He’s put himself in a position to become one of the greatest wrestlers ever.”