Jordan Burroughs reacts against Kyle Dake in their freestyle 74 kg. finals match at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials on April 3, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas.
While all eyes will certainly be on the eight U.S. medalists from the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 competing at the World Wrestling Championships beginning Saturday in Oslo, Norway, they will also be trained on a pair of men’s freestyle wrestlers who didn’t get to Tokyo.
Former Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs lost to Kyle Dake at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the spring, ending a streak of nine years of representing the U.S. at every world championships and Olympic Games. J’den Cox didn’t even get to wrestle, after missing weigh-in and subsequently being removed from the schedule.
Now both will be looking for redemption in Oslo.
Burroughs, 33, posted a shot to his Instagram of him at the Dallas Fort Worth airport on March 30, squatting next to his luggage, after arriving in town for the Olympic Trials.
His next post was five days later, when he wrote, “This road has been long and difficult. I’m gonna take some time away to reflect and rebuild. This isn’t the end for me. Thanks to everyone for their support. Congratulations to all this year’s Olympians.”
Three weeks later, Burroughs told USA Wrestling that after stepping back and spending time with his family he was already planning to bulk up so he could try to make the world team at 79 kg. He and his family moved from his longtime home in Nebraska, where he went to college, to Philadelphia, where he joined the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center as a resident athlete. The Sicklerville, New Jersey, native also prepared to welcome a fourth child to the family and served as a commentator for NBC during the Olympic wrestling competition.
On Sept. 10, the night before he wrestled to try to make the world team at a new weight (Dake won a bronze medal in Tokyo and was automatically invited to compete at 74 kg. in Oslo), he wrote that going into any competition he thinks about all the preparation that’s gone into it and all the times he didn’t give his best effort.
“Each time I wrestle I am one match closer to the end of my career.,” he wrote. “And when I let doubt creep in and sabotage my performance, I lose the chance to give my gift to the world. It’s an opportunity I’ll never get back because I lost focus for a moment. Tonight I remind myself, when it’s all said and done how do you want to be remembered?”
This time, Burroughs’ post-match shot was one of a happy man.
Swollen, but happy.