Jordan Burroughs won his sixth world wrestling title, combined with his 2012 Olympic title to become the first American wrestler with seven world gold medals.
Burroughs, 34, won all five of her matches over the past two days at the world championships in Belgrade in the 79kg division, which is not an Olympic weight class.
He beat Iran Mohammad Nokhodi 4-2 in Friday’s final, using his trademark double leg, in a rematch of last October’s World Final also won by Burroughs.
“I’m still at the top of my game,” said Burroughs, a father of four who won his first world title in 2011 and is 10-0 in medal games between the Olympics and the World’s Championships. “Before every game, I always remind myself that I chose this. This is chosen suffering.
“Someone’s gonna break this [record] one day. Today is my daytime.”
Burroughs, who said in June that he planned to retire after the 2024 Olympics (whether or not he made the team), has for years harbored the goal of breaking John SmithAmerican record of six combined Olympic and world titles. Adeline Gray complicated the quest by winning his sixth gold medal last October, as did Burroughs. Gray, 31, is on hiatus and gave birth to twins in July.
“I’m going until I can’t take it anymore,” he said on Friday. “As of now, that day has not yet come.”
Burroughs’ 10 medals of any color between the Olympics and World Championships are the second in U.S. history to Bruce Baumgartnerat 13 years old.
“I am now the standard for American wrestling,” he said. “I’ve been here for 12 years, and no one can say I don’t deserve this.”
Burroughs won his Olympic gold medal in 2012 in the 74kg category and competed there at last year’s Olympic trials, where he was beaten by Kyle Dake. Burroughs then moved on to the non-Olympic 79kg division, as Dake received a bye to the October 2021 Worlds at 74kg as the reigning Olympic medalist (bronze).
Burroughs must return to an Olympic weight class by 2024, likely dropping back to 74kg in a bid to dethrone Dake at the Olympic Trials.
Also Friday, American David Taylor beat rival Hassan Yazdani of Iran 7-1 in a rematch of last year’s Olympic 86kg final (won by Taylor with one out with 17 seconds left) and last October’s world championship final (won by Yazdani).
Taylor, 31, “considered retirement several times” since winning the Olympic title in Tokyo and “has been injured all year, could barely train”, due at least in part to swelling in the knee.
“I just didn’t know if I wanted to keep doing it,” he said. “I achieved my lifelong goal of being an Olympic champion. I thought if I could go to the world championships eight weeks later, I would probably be done. Going there and losing was tough.
Two American wrestlers have won back-to-back Olympic titles, and only one in the last century – Smith in 1988 and 1992. Burroughs and Taylor are older than any other American Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, according to Olympedia.org.
“My wife, my coaches, my inner circle of people, they just sat me down and said, ‘What do you want? You have earned the right to do whatever you want to do. I am not a loser. i will not lose [at the October 2021 Worlds]”, Taylor said. “[Yazdani] burn this fire to keep me going. He is this barrier between me and a gold medal in Paris. World championships are good, but people remember us for the Olympics.
American Zain Retherford, the 2017 and 2018 NCAA Wrestler of the Year at Penn State, won silver in the non-Olympic 70 kg division. Retherford picked up his first world medal in his third appearance on Thursday, then lost 10-0 to Japan on Friday Taishi Narikuni In the final.
Earlier Friday, former world champions J’den Cox (92kg), Thomas Gilman (57 kg) and Dake advanced to Saturday’s gold medal matches.
Wrestlers from Belarus and Russia are banned due to the war in Ukraine. Russian wrestlers won the most medals at the 2021 World Championships (18) and finished second to the Americans with eight medals at the Tokyo Games.
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