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Jordan Burroughs is no stranger to surpassing expectations. After an incredibly successful junior year at the University of Nebraska, he suffered a devastating knee injury, tearing his LCL and PCL. Jordan was sidelined with surgery and an eight-month recovery period, and, combined with the satisfaction of what he’d already accomplished in his college career, this could have been the end of Jordan Burroughs the wrestler.
“I had a little bit of complacency after my junior year of college where I had won a national title and felt as though I had done everything I planned to do in college,” Jordan explains. “But I remained hungry, got my love back for the sport, and was just enjoying what I did. It was less of a job and more of a fun activity and a hobby for me, so that’s what made it cool.”
Good thing, because after redshirting and returning as a fifth-year senior, Jordan was unstoppable. He returned from his knee injury at 165 pounds of pure strength to complete an incredible final year at Nebraska, finishing with a third Big 12 championship, a second NCAA championship as a #1 seed, and a Hodge Trophy.
After graduating, Jordan took a little break. He waited three whole weeks before winning the 2011 U.S. Open. Clearly not one for slowing down, Jordan joined the U.S. World Team. Continuing his dominating streak, he became just the fourth wrestler to ever win the NCAA Championship and the World Championship in the same year. This qualified him for a trip across the pond, where he achieved his lifelong dream of becoming an Olympic champion. His first act? Running over to the stands and jumping the railing to hug his biggest fan of all, his mom.
Now, Jordan is looking forward to the upcoming year. “For me, I prepare by looking at the big picture, keeping it all in perspective. I want to be the best in the world. I’ve accomplished that, and now I want to continue to be the best in the world. I know everyone’s gunning for me and that’s a motivator. So when I step in the wrestling room, I know I have to work harder and outwork all my opponents and everyone out there in the world. I don’t know how they’re training, specifically. I don’t know what they’re doing, but I know what I’m doing, and I’m doing it as hard as I can.”
Jordan isn’t the only wrestler looking to stay on top in August. He will be joined by fellow American Jake Varner (link) in his pursuit to join the elite ranks of American wrestlers to become two-time Olympic Champions. It’s a challenge so difficult that only two athletes have succeeded. But, like we said, Jordan is no stranger to exceeding expectations.
That’s why Jordan reminds young wrestlers everywhere that “no goal is impossible” with hard work. And he means it. So much so that he added it to his body with a tattoo that reads “Dream It, Do It.”
Want more from Jordan? Check out our videos and wrestling tutorials.
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