Jordan Burroughs celebrates his freestyle 74-kilogram division title Friday to give the U.S. its first wrestling gold medal in London.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
LONDON -- A year ago, Jordan Burroughs changed his Twitter handle to (at)alliseeisgold.
On Thursday, Burroughs promised to tweet a picture of himself holding the Olympic gold medal. He delivered on Friday night -- on the mat and on Twitter.
The boastful 24-year-old American backed up all his talk, beating Iran's Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi 1-0, 1-0 in the men's freestyle 74-kilogram division to give the U.S. its first wrestling gold medal at the London Games.
"A lot of people call it cocky, people call it over confident," Burroughs said. "But I knew I was going to win."
Burroughs beat Denis Tsargush of Russia in a tight semifinal, then got past Goudarzi in a rematch of their world championship bout in 2011.
Burroughs, who grew up in New Jersey, has won 38 straight international freestyle matches and is the first Olympian to claim the $250,000 prize from the Living the Dream Medal Fund, a program designed to support U.S. wrestling.
An hour after beating Goudarzi, the tweet-happy Burroughs made good on his word, posting a shot of himself beaming beside his gold.
He won't have to change that boastful handle either -- at least not until the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
"It's easy to be confident when you put the hard work in that I do," Burroughs said.
Also, Dzhamal Otarsultanov took the men's 55-kg freestyle category, beating Vladimer Khinchegashvili of Georgia to give the Russians four wrestling golds at the London Games, tops for any nation.
Burroughs woke up tight on Friday, not surprising considering the expectations he put on himself. He got over his nerves and beat his two biggest rivals for the title.
Burroughs won his first two matches to set up a rematch with Tsargush, a two-time world champion that the U.S. star beat in the 2011 world championships en route to the title. It turned out to be the most gripping match of the Olympic tournament so far.
Burroughs owned the first period. But Tsargush scored on a takedown in the second and kept himself alive to set up a thrilling final frame.
Burroughs and Tsargush circled the mat cautiously for about 90 seconds before Burroughs -- one of the quickest wrestlers in the world -- launched himself at Tsargush's legs for a takedown.
Burroughs opened the scoring in the final when he notched a double-leg takedown of Goudarzi with just nine seconds left in the first period. He clinched the final with a similar move late in the second.
The gold brought a deep sense of relief for the medal-starved Americans.
The U.S. entered Friday with just one medal; a bronze won by women's freestyler Clarissa Chun. Burroughs was by far the best hope the U.S. had for a gold, and the fear was that if he fell short the Americans would go home without one.
"He can be the face of American wrestling," U.S. freestyle coach Zeke Jones said. "He's put himself in a position to become one of the greatest wrestlers ever."
South Korea's Hwang Kyung-seon defended her Olympic title in the women's 67-kilogram division, and Sebastian Crismanich of Argentina won the gold medal in the men's 80-kg category.
Hwang defeated Turkey's Nur Tatar 12-5 in a final in which both fighters attacked from the start.
The bronze medals were won by Paige McPherson of the United States and Germany's Helena Fromm.
Five-time world champion American Steven Lopez lost his opening bout in the men's competition. Two members of his family said later that he had a broken leg.
Ous Mellouli of Tunisia won the grueling 10-kilometer race to become the first swimmer to win medals in the pool and open water at the same Olympics.
Mellouli pulled away from a small group of leaders in the fifth of six laps and finished in 1 hour, 49 minutes, 55.1 seconds in the murky waters of the Serpentine in Hyde Park. He also won bronze in the 1,500-meter freestyle last week.
It was the second gold of Mellouli's Olympic career. He also took the 1,500 at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Lightweight Vasyl Lomachenko and two Ukrainian teammates advanced to gold-medal bouts.
Lomachenko, Chinese light flyweight Zou Shiming and Italian super heavyweight Roberto Cammarelle all won their semifinals, earning the right to fight during the final weekend for their second straight Olympic gold medals.
Australia's Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, and New Zealand's Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie won the 470 class gold medals by overwhelming their British rivals on Weymouth Bay.
The victory by Belcher and Page guaranteed that Australia will win more sailing gold medals than the strong, well-funded British team.
There's no question which country is the best in this sport.
Russia grabbed the team gold medal for its fourth consecutive team victory and sixth straight overall gold. The Russians totaled 197.030 points with a free routine featuring swimmers doing acrobatic flips and pirouetting like ballerinas above the water.
Ed McKeever of Britain clocked the quickest time over the heats and semifinals as the 200-meter canoe sprint made its Olympic debut.
Racing in front of a flag-waving crowd under sunny, cloudless skies at Dorney Lake, the barrel-chested McKeever crossed in 35.087 seconds in his heat and then easily won his semifinal.
The Netherlands retained the women's Olympic title with a 2-0 win over world champion Argentina.
Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel and captain Maartje Paumen scored for the Netherlands, which will try for the first-ever Olympic double when the country's men's hockey team takes on Germany today.