Monday, September 14, 2015

Jordan Burroughs Is the Michael Jordan of Wrestling

The NFL kicked off while college football cruised into week two this past weekend. There were some very fun games (Iowa vs. Iowa State) and some games that made me sick to my stomach (Iowa vs. Iowa State), and amazing things happened on football fields around the country. And none of those things can even hold a candle to what happened in Las Vegas this past weekend, where Jordan Burroughs won his third world championship (four, if you count his Olympic Gold Medal, which you probably should). Burroughs is not just a great wrestler; he is the Michael Jordan of wrestling and the most underappreciated athlete of his generation.

It's impossible to describe how great Burroughs is in words. He is currently on a five year run of dominance. In 2011 and 2012 in his first years of international competition, he blew through everyone to get a World Championship and an Olympic Gold. That led to my favorite sports photo in history.
This is why sports matter.

After 2012, wrestling overhauled the scoring, and it didn't slow him down a bit. He is 23-1 in world championships, and his only loss was in 2014 to the eventual World Champion who he had to wrestle after spraining his MCL. The knee is super important to a wrestler, and despite Burroughs spraining it in the first match of the tournament, he still went on to win the Bronze Medal.

You may have noticed that I skipped over 2013. That's because I'm not totally convinced that 2013 is humanly possible. Like, I know that it did happen; there's record of it and everything, but logically, my brain cannot wrap my head around Jordan Burroughs at the 2013 World Championships. Burroughs won the World Title while outscoring his five opponents by a score of 34-3. These are the best wrestlers in the world, and Burroughs ran threw them like they were nothing. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, he did this all on a BROKEN ANKLE.

He broke his ankle four weeks before the tournament, required a surgery where they put in five screws and a plate in his ankle and told him he should be able to start training again in 6-8 weeks. Instead, he got back on the mat 11 days before the World Championships, and then beat the shit out of everyone competing in Hungary. Michael Jordan gets lauded for the flu game (rightfully so), but that is nothing compared to what Burroughs did.

So even though Burroughs lost last year, everybody knew that he was the guy to beat this year, and he went out and proved why by outscoring his opponents 36-5(I highly recommend watching his semifinals matchup: I mean, he did it on two fully functioning ankles, so it's kind of a ho-hum performance. And that's where we're at with Burroughs. There is no way for him to impress us at this point, because what he's done so far is mind-bogglingly impressive. He is America's most dominant athlete, and it's not particularly close.

But it's wrestling, and although wrestling is gaining in popularity (partially because of Burroughs who doubles as an incredible ambassador for the sport), it may not even make it in the top 10 of most popular sports in the United States. But don't miss out on Burroughs's greatness; it is truly historical, and even if wrestling isn't your jam, watching someone excel to this level at something is an opportunity you don't want to miss.

Jordan Burroughs is the Michael Jordan of wrestling? No, no, no. Michael Jordan was the Jordan Burroughs of basketball.


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