Jordan Burroughs aims to be alone at the top of the American wrestling pantheon

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Penn’s wrestling locker room has just the right amount of musty smell to confirm that hard work is being done nearby. Around the corner from the wrestling hall, it’s not just the Quakers who are struggling. Jordan Burroughs, pride of Sicklerville, Olympic wrestling hero, works from this location.

No name on his locker, but his things are in there. Burroughs, now 34, also trains regularly at Drexel down the street, now that he trains with the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center.

This is historic work that Burroughs is doing.

By Friday, Burroughs will know if he is the most decorated American freestyle wrestler of all time. Seeded first in the 79-kilogram (174-pound) division of the Senior World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, Burroughs will begin wrestling early Thursday morning Philadelphia time, trying to become the first American wrestler to win seven gold medals. World or Olympic gold.

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Currently, Burroughs is tied with fellow legends John Smith and Adeline Gray with six gold medals. For him, the six was achieved with 2012 Olympic gold and five world titles.

“It’s probably the most special 10-day stretch of my career,” Burroughs said last year in a phone interview from Oslo, Norway, hours after winning the world title to tie that mark. noting how this period began with him being present for the early arrival of his fourth child.

“Jordan is in a great place spiritually, mentally and physically,” wrote former Penn star and 2000 Olympic gold medalist Brandon Slay, the PRTC head coach who is with Burroughs in Belgrade. “He understands there’s a big opportunity ahead of him, but he stays focused on the little things like nutrition, getting good rest, keeping his feet moving, poking opponents with his hands and attacking to score points.”

The little things are legendary. Penn’s current wrestling star Doug Zapf walked into the Quakers wrestling room on Wednesday morning. Working on explosive doubles with two-time NCAA champion Jordan Burroughs in Nebraska isn’t a bad way to learn such a move.

“I would say daily,” Zapf said of how often current Quakers train with Burroughs. “I fight with him a bit. He’s a bit taller than me, so it’s hard to be 100% for either of us. But it’s really good to see the way he moves, his hands and his feet. It’s something I’ve never felt before.”

That double blast… a sports famous double leg takedown.

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“The thing about him is he’s so comfortable with so many positions,” Zapf said. “For me, I’m known for my hand fight. And he’s as good if not better than me at unarmed combat. But the thing is, he’ll set up his double blast from his hand fight, give a little space, then I’ll be a little higher than him, and he’ll double me, go through me. His head is right in my chest.

Yes, Zapf said he plans to get up at 4:30 a.m. Thursday to watch FloWrestling’s website as Burroughs begins his quest to reach the top of the American wrestling hierarchy, all-time.

“When he commits to doing the little things with excellence,” Slay said in his text from Belgrade, “he knows big things will come to fruition.”


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