The U.S. has its first wrestling gold medal of the 2012 London Olympic Games. Former University of Nebraska standout Jordan Burroughs, 24, captured the gold medal Friday in freestyle wrestling in the 74 kg (163lbs) division. He defeated Sadegh Goudarzi in two consecutive periods 1-0, 1-0.
In addition to a gold medal, Burroughs will also pocket a quarter of a million dollars. USA Wrestling pledged $ 250,000 to any Olympian who earned a gold medal through its Living The Dream Fund.
After graduating the University of Nebraska in 2011 and earning two NCAA Division I championships in addition to a Dan Hodge Tropy (wrestling’s equivalent of the Heisman Tropy in football), Burroughs had one of the most accomplished calendar years in U.S. wrestling history. In 2011, he became a gold medal at Pan American Games as well as the World Championships, become the U.S. Open Champion, won the U.S. World Team Trials and became the U.S. Open champion.
In 2012, he repeated as U.S. Open Champion, won the Olympic Trials, earned a gold medal at the wrestling World Cup and now a gold medal in the Olympics.
While Burroughs has become the face of U.S. wrestling, he’s also expressed strong interest in a career in professional mixed martial arts.
“Yeah, definitely,” Burroughs told SB Nation in November of 2011 when asked if wanted to fight after his wrestling career is over. “I definitely want to fight after I’m done wrestling. I want to wrestle ‘til 2017. John Smith from Oklahoma State was the greatest American wrestler of all time. He was a four time world champ and two time Olympic champ so for me, in order to catch him or surpass him, I’ll have to wrestle every Olympics and every world championship from now to 2017 and that’s the goal to win all of those and once I’m done with that, to try and get into MMA.”