US Olympic Wrestling Team 2012: Jordan Burroughs Is America's Best Shot at Gold
The history of Americans wrestling at the Olympics is a rather storied one.
Dating back to 1972, at least one freestyle competitor has taken home a gold medal in the Olympics.
Thus far the men have been quiet, but the real action begins today when 55kg and 74kg Round of 16 kicks off. In a fast paced tournament-like setting, everything will be decided in one day. The same routine will then occur on Saturday for the 60kg, 84kg and 120kg weight classes.
So who should you keep an eye on to keep the incredible streak alive?
Jordan Burroughs of the 74kg weight class.
The Camden, New Jersey native will be wrestling Francisco Daniel Soler Tanco of Puerto Rico in the Round of 16 this morning in what should be a rather one-sided affair. Soler Tanco is only 19, and not nearly as experienced in senior-level competition.
This should set the stage for an outstanding run that culminates in standing on the podium to accept his gold medal.
The 24-year-old Burroughs is a perfect 34-0 in senior-level freestyle competition and hasn’t lost a match since 2009 back in college at Nebraska. In that match, he tore two ligaments, yet still was able to finish the match. Burroughs didn’t lose a single match in his last two years at Nebraska as the undisputed best wrestler in the NCAA.
He’s certainly the favorite in his Olympic weight class, but that doesn’t mean the competition isn’t going to be stiff.
Burroughs narrowly defeated Russian Denis Tsargush when he won the world title last year. He’ll be a major factor. Iran’s Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi is going to be another strong competitor that stands in his way.
But make no mistake—the current world champion is incredibly confident he’ll be taking home the gold medal (via Mercury News): "I want to win. I expect to win and wrestling needs somebody who can win."
Aside from Burroughs, there isn’t a ton of hope for the Americans to win gold.
Tervel Dlagnev of the 120kg didn’t lose a round in the finals at Trials, but he doesn’t have a ton of brute strength for the heavy weight class he resides in.
Jake Varner is a threat at the 96kg level, but has little experience at this level and is considered a wild card.
The fate of this impressive gold medal streak lies with Burroughs, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
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