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Year in Review: Burroughs lives up to his promise

Dec 31, 2012, 1:20 PM EDT

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

OlympicTalk’s writers recount some of their favorite moments from the 2012 London Games.

When Jordan Burroughs sat down at his computer in January of 2011 and decided on the Twitter handle @alliseeisgold, the then 22-year-old from New Jersey had no freestyle international experience and was fresh off a major knee injury that sidelined him for most of the 2009/10 season. He wasn’t even a lock to capture his weight class at the 2011 NCAA championships, let alone to win a spot against veteran wrestlers at the 2011 U.S. World Team Trials.

But by the Opening Ceremony of the London Games – just a year and a half after making his Joe Namath-like prediction – Burroughs had won the 2011 World Championships, the 2011 Pan American Games and swept the U.S. Olympic Trials, all without dropping a single match. Already the face of USA Wrestling, he entered London as the odds on favorite to capture the 74kg weight class crown and record his name among the sports’ elite.

Burroughs cruised through London, winning all but one round en-route to gold. His 1-0, 1-0 victory over Iran’s Sadegh Goudarzi had it’s fair share of excitement, but the result was never in doubt. When the timer hit 0:00 and Burroughs won, it became clear to everyone that the moment they were witnessing was something special, not because the achievement itself involved something super-human on the mat, but because it was the culmination of a promise that, at the time it was made, seemed utterly unattainable.