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June 8th, 2012
08:32 AM ET

U.S. wrestler Jordan Burroughs on his quest for gold at London Olympics

The 2012 summer Olympics in London is just 49 days away, and the U.S. men's wrestling is getting some very serious hype. That's because 2011 World Champion Freestyle Wrestler Jordan Burroughs, who qualified for the men's freestyle team last month, has gone undefeated since 2009. Many say Jordan is the United States' best chance at bringing home Olympic gold.

Jordan will celebrate his 24th birthday during this year's games, and he talks with Zoraida on "Early Start" about the pressure to succeed at the Olympics.

Read a transcript of Jordan's interview with Zoraida after the jump.

TRANSCRIPT:

SAMBOLIN: Quite a youngster, you are. You have been undefeated since 2009. There is a lot of hype around you bringing home a gold medal. How do you feel about that?

JORDAN BURROUGHS, MEMBER OF 2012 U.S. OLYMPIC WRESTING TEAM: I'm just embracing the pressure right now. You know, for me, I put a high standard on myself. So, I expect to win every time I step on the mat. I'm excited to have the opportunity in London.

SAMBOLIN: Well, apparently, a lot of people expect you to win. I asked you how you felt about Zeke Jones, and what did you say?

BURROUGHS: He's a great coach. You know, he's been there for the last year since I've stepped on to the international scene. You know, so he's always in my corner through my world championship, (INAUDIBLE) and all that stuff. So, –

SAMBOLIN: So, you respect this man. He's a USA wrestling freestyle coach, and this is what he says about you. He's got world class blazing speed. He has great setup routines. He's got unbelievable confidence. He can attack from multiple directions. He can cover multiple distances. He can do things that most guys can't." Don't you feel a lot of pressure when somebody like that is saying that about you?

BURROUGHS: I don't know if I'm as cool as he makes me sound.

SAMBOLIN: Well, it sounds pretty cool. But you didn't have a lot of role models growing up in wrestling, so who was your role model? Who guided you through this journey?

BURROUGHS: Definitely my parents. You know, my parents always worked hard, keep food on the table, you know? So, they were big motivators for me and inspired me to do what I love, you know? So, I get paid every day to do what I love. And, I just love this for the rest –

SAMBOLIN: Where did the love come from?

BURROUGHS: Just an early start, you know? I've been wrestling since I was five years old, you know, so, I'm extremely competitive and been doing it for a long time. I was the first person my family to wrestle, so never had a lot of pressure on me. So, everything I did was just - is for the love of sport.

SAMBOLIN: You have the literal scars to prove it, right? So, I want everybody to take a look at this ear. It's called cauliflower ear.

(CROSSTALK)

BURROUGHS: It's bad. It's bad. Check it out.

SAMBOLIN: That is incredible. So, you know, that is kind of what happens when you end up being a world class wrestler. I can (INAUDIBLE) all wrestlers, right? That is just kind of –

BURROUGHS: Almost everyone. Ninety percent of us have it.

SAMBOLIN: Are you planning to tweet at the Olympics?

BURROUGHS: Of course. I'm always on Twitter.

SAMBOLIN: OK. Your Twitter handle is @alliseeisgold. The same website URL. Some have accused you of being a little overconfident. How do you feel about that?

BURROUGHS: I mean, a lot think mistake my confidence for cockiness. But, it's my confidence that's helped me win to this point, you know? So, every time I step out there on the mat, I expect to win. I'm extremely confident from getting success (ph), and hopefully continue to do that in London.

SAMBOLIN: Where does your focus come from? Because this is a sport where you really do have to do that.

BURROUGHS: I have a lot mental preparation drills I do. You know, not only am I working hard physically, but I'm working hard mentally. You know, so, there's going to be a number of distractions going on throughout the Olympic games, referees, my opponents, the Olympic village. So, I'm just trying to stay mentally focused to win that gold.

SAMBOLIN: You just recently had an exhibition match yesterday, right, at Times Square. It was against a Russian opponent. You won that match in 28 seconds? Good gracious. Are you nervous about having a crowd around you?

BURROUGHS: No, it's awesome. You know, it's a huge stage, probably the biggest venue I've ever been a part of and a great even, you know? So, I wanted to give the crowd a show and give them something to cheer about. It was awesome.

SAMBOLIN: OK. I'm going to ask you a crazy question. Are you bringing home Olympic gold?

BURROUGHS: Of course.

SAMBOLIN: Of course. But what I really want to know is in that final match, in how many seconds do you think you're bringing home Olympic gold?

BURROUGHS: I don't know. This one might be a little bit tougher. This one might take a whole couple periods, whole two periods.

SAMBOLIN: A whole two periods. All right. Jordan Burroughs, we wish you all the luck in the world. We certainly hope you do win, and when you do, will you bring it back here so that you can show it off?

BURROUGHS: Of course. Show it off to you, guys.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Good luck to you.


Filed under: 2012 London Olympics
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Ucinakmami

    Feel sorry for people of Chicago, etc., would have hepled the economy and all that, and SA was overdue for an Olympics, so I'm happy for them even if I'm not so sure Rio has the infrastructure to put on a decent games. But part of me is SO GLAD Chicago didn't get it. We would have had 2 solid weeks of NON-STOP Obamamania. What is Michell and the kids wearing today? What sporting venues are on for today? What restaurant did they visit and what did they have to eat? Ad nauseam. Would have been hard to take.

    July 29, 2012 at 2:10 am | Reply

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