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10 Questions With Team USA Wrestler Jordan Burroughs

by Imogen Rosa

Back home after making history, six-time and reigning world champion Jordan Burroughs sat down with Team USA to answer 10 questions. From reminiscing on the 2022 World Wrestling Championships to talking about his day in the life and future, the winningest wrestler in Team USA history wasn't short of any answers.

Jordan Burroughs celebrates defeating Mohammad Nokhodi (Iran) in the men's freestyle 79 kg. title bout at the 2022 UWW World Championships on Sept. 16, 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia.


Q: Can you tell us about your experience this year at worlds?

A: Belgrade, Serbia, we had the World Championship, Sept. 15-18. I had the ability to do something really special, which was break the all time winning record for freestyle wrestling. So it was a pretty special opportunity for me. Won my seventh World Championship. Yeah, had a good time doing it.

Q: What was it like to come home as the winningest wrestler in Team USA history?

A: The significance of the moment was that I've been chasing this for such a long period of time, but also there was a little bit of excitement and joy, but there was also satisfaction coming from the fact that the work that I've put in has actually paid off and come to fruition. So, I was thankful. It was exciting. My family was there, my friends were there, a lot of my teammates, coaches, everyone that supported me through this journey and helped me achieve this great level of success and helped me get prepped. So it was a special day for all of us.

Q: What inspired you to found the 'All I See Is Gold' Academy in the South Jersey area?

A: Well, I grew up in South Jersey, my hometown, Sicklerville, New Jersey, right outside of Philly, and I grew up off the Atlantic City expressway where wrestling's really strong. So the culture in the area between PA, Jersey is huge, one of the strongest hotbeds of the sport in the country. And so I wanted to go back and give back to the place that established me and made me who I am. I wanted to kind of instill that in the youth in my area and inspire that next generation through all the things that I've learned.

Q: How do you feel getting messages from young black wrestlers saying you inspired them?

A: Most sports, the legends don't look like us, and so I think that, particularly in wrestling, coming from a predominantly African American neighborhood, all my friends play basketball, they play football. Nobody wrestled, but I stuck with it and showed people that it was cool and it was an exciting sport and that it could change your life. I've got to set the standard and become the bar for this sport, so now young kids can see that representation matters. And so when they look up and see the heroes in the sport, they get to see me.

Q: Any messages that you want to send out to young black athletes looking to pursue a wrestling career?

A: It'll teach you all the characteristics you need to be a contributor to society, a great man, a great woman, and it'll help you grow and develop confidence, strength, consistency, persistence, resilience. All of these virtues that are hard to find in some of these other sports.

Jordan Burroughs celebrates with his family after winning the men's freestyle 79 kg. title bout at the 2022 UWW World Championships on Sept. 16, 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia.


Q: What does a day in the life look like for you right now?

A: Just active. I wouldn't have it any other way. I'd rather have a lot on my plate because of all the success that I've had than nothing, because I haven't done anything. I'm leading the way for a lot of people that look to me for inspiration and so many other people's dreams are intertwined with my own.

Q: At 34 years old, what keeps you going?

A: When I was young, first it was, I wanted to win the tallest trophy when I was a kid. Then I wanted to have my name in the paper and get a varsity jacket. Then I wanted to get a scholarship, get my name up in the rafters at my college, and then it became, I wanted to gain followers and make money and establish myself. Then it became I wanted to be the best ever. Now, honestly, I'm getting back to the essence of why I started this, and that's just because I love it.

Q: What does it mean to you to see the women of USA Wrestling perform at the level they are?

A: I think it's special to see what women have done in this sport. They've elevated themselves at an astounding rate. They weren't in Olympic games until 2004, and now they're winning gold medals every year, become perennially one of the best teams in the world.

Q: Going into 2023, what would a successful year look like for you?

A: [A] World Championship; it's gold or bust for me, literally every single year. 2023 is an exciting time because it leads up to [the Olympic Games Paris] 2024. You want to get that ball rolling and start to gain momentum, but ultimately it's go back to the drawing board during the off season, dust yourself off, heal, recover, and start working back up to doing something else special.

Q: Where do you stand on a potential MMA debut?

A: Honestly, I don't know. There's certain days that I'm like, "Damn I could do this. I could beat these dudes." There are other days where I'm like, "Nah, I'm good." It's hard. I found so much success and comfort and peace in wrestling, but I think I could be really good. I don't know. Never say never, but it'd have to definitely be for the right price and it gets the right opponent.

Imogen Rosa is the Digital Content Manager for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee.