#TeamUSATuesday: Men's Freestyle National Team member Jordan Burroughs

By JD Rader, USA Wrestling | July 23, 2019, 3:05 p.m. (ET)
Jordan Burroughs is currently the No. 1 wrestler at 74 kg/163 lbs. for Team USA’s Men’s Freestyle National Team. 

A five-time World and Olympic champion, Burroughs is one of the most decorated wrestlers in American history. In addition to his five golds, Burroughs also has two World bronze medals.

Before starting his international career Burroughs was a two-time NCAA National champion for the University of Nebraska. In 2011 after his senior season, Burroughs was awarded the Dan Hodge Trophy.

Burroughs won his spot on this year’s World Team by defeating two-time NCAA champion and four-time finalist Isaiah Martinez. He will go into the World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan having earned the second seed. 

Burroughs took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions.

What is your favorite movie?
It’s between Sandlot and Home Alone. I’ve seen them probably about 150 times each, and still watch them to this day.

Who is your favorite musical artist?
Jay-Z for sure. I think he kind of optimizes everything that I desire to be. He’s very skilled at his craft. He’s well respected by his peers. He’s the first ever rapper to become a billionaire. He’s got a beautiful wife and a very powerful family. Coming from where he came from as a black man to the heights that he did, is something I aspire achieve.

What is your favorite food?
If someone was buying me a celebration meal, it would be seafood, probably salmon. I eat salmon pretty much every day.

What is your favorite sport to watch other than wrestling?
I’d probably say football. I’m a Bills fan.

Did you play any other sports growing up?
I played tee-ball, I ran track, and I played football for a few years.

Who is your favorite wrestler to watch either past or present?
My favorite international wrestler of all time is Haji Aliyev from Azerbaijan. My favorite domestic wrestler of all time is tough. Old school guys, I’d say it’s between John Smith and Kenny Monday. Current guy would probably be Jordan Oliver.

What do you normally do to pass time when you’re travelling?
When I’m travelling, I like to read books or magazines, listen to music, write, and shop. We don’t have a lot of shopping here in Lincoln, so when I’m in a big city, I do a lot of shopping.

What are some of your other hobbies off of the mat?
I’m a big car enthusiast and a foodie. I like to find different restaurants and coffee shops throughout the country and world. I’m a frequent Yelper. I’m the guy people come to when they want to go to a good restaurant. And lastly, I’m really into designing apparel, singlets, wrestling shoes, and all that.

What is your biggest fear?
Originally it was not achieving my potential. Then it kind of moved to not giving my kids the life they deserve and not being a good parent. 

How has having a family impacted your wrestling career?
It’s given me extra motivation and a drive to continue to do what needs to be done to get my hand raised. I saw a quote from Tyler Perry the other day that said, “There are people whose lives are tied into your dreams.” That means there are people who will only achieve the heights of their abilities by me achieving mine first. There’s a life out there that I have to go out and claim because I am responsible for other people’s success that I may not even know yet. That’s a ton of responsibility and kind of scary, but I know I was put in this position for a reason. 

Do you have any plans once your wrestling career is over?
I want to be a business man. I look at guys like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, and all of these former and current players that go on to have a ton of success outside of where they originally started. They became more than just athletes. I think that I’m more than just a wrestler and I want my life to reflect that. 

How did you first get involved in wrestling?
I just brought home a flyer one day from elementary school. I was either first grade or second grade. I brought it home to my mom. We didn’t really know what wrestling was like. My parents knew about the sport, but had never really watched it. I was at that age where they were putting me into everything I showed interest in. I loved it right away. 

What kind of advice would you give a younger wrestler?
Number one would be to work hard and give 100 percent effort all the time. Number two would be find the beauty in perfecting your craft. Look at the people who have been the most successful around the world, it’s not a gimmick that these people have done really well. If you really want to be a legend, you have to commit to your craft. The greats have withstood the test of time because they truly love their sport and are committed to getting better at their craft. The success, awards, sponsorships, money, and fame is a byproduct of all the hard work they’ve put in. That wasn’t what they sought after when they first began. They sought ambience. If you keep that mindset throughout your career, can be great at this. 

Do you have any pre-match rituals you try and do before every match?
My wife writes me a note. She gives me a handwritten note from whatever kind of piece of paper she can find. And really just everything that I’ve done leading up to that point. Yes the quality of my opponent, but also the quality of my training. 

What does it mean to be able to represent America at the World Championships?
There’s nothing like it. If you noticed at Beat the Streets and Final X, I had a spaceship singlet and a military singlet on. It was representative of the members in the NASA space program and the pilots in the American military. I feel as much pride in my country as those guys do. There’s nothing I would rather do in the world. Professional athletes get to represent cities, states, and teams, but I get to represent an entire country. I think that’s a really special opportunity for all Olympians. As cool as it would be to be in the NFL or NBA, they will never get to replicate what we do.  

The Burroughs file
Birthday: July 8, 1988
Hometown: Sicklerville, N.J.
High school: Winslow Township High School
College: University of Nebraska
Residence: Lincoln, Neb.
Club: Sunkist Kids WC/Nebraska Wrestling Training Center
Twitter: @alliseeisgold
Instagram: @alliseeisgold
Website: www.jordanburroughs.com
Olympic gold medalist (2012)
Four-time World champion (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017)
Two-time World bronze medalist (2014, 2018)
Three-time Pan American champion (2011, 2015, 2019)
Three-time U.S. Open champion (2012, 2013, 2014)
Two-time NCAA champion (2009, 2011)
Dan Hodge Trophy winner (2011)
New Jersey High School State champion (2006)