Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Year in Review: Burroughs lives up to his promise

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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.

Katie Ledecky helps Bryce Harper celebrate NL East title (video)

Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper, right, and Mark Melancon, left, celebrate after clinching the National League East following a 6-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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The Washington Nationals won the National League East title last night for the third time in five years.

Reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper donned a Katie Ledecky swim cap during the beer-soaked celebration to protect his hair, which he reportedly spends 30 minutes grooming before games.

Ledecky, a native of Bethesda, Maryland, is a longtime fan of the Nationals. Earlier this year, she had Harper hold her five Olympic medals from Rio while she threw the first pitch at a Nationals game.

Ledecky, who is currently taking classes at Stanford, Tweeted her approval of Harper’s headgear:

MORE: Katie Ledecky declines waffle maker on ‘Ellen’ to stay NCAA eligible

Kenenisa Bekele misses marathon world record by six seconds (video)

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele crosses the finish to win the 43th Berlin Marathon in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
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BERLIN (AP) — Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia pulled away from Wilson Kipsang of Kenya late in the race to win the Berlin Marathon just outside the world record time on Sunday.

Bekele’s winning time of two hours, 3 minutes and 3 seconds was six seconds outside Dennis Kimetto‘s world record, also set in Berlin in 2014 and is the second best time.

“I wanted to set a personal best and it’s a fantastic time, but it’s a little disappointing to miss the world record by so little,” Bekele said after the race.

Bekele and Kipsang opened a considerable lead over the rest of the field and ran shoulder-to-shoulder until Bekele pulled away with about two kilometers to go.

Kipsang finished 10 seconds behind Bekele in 2:03:13, faster than the 2:03:23 he clocked in winning the race in 2013, in what was then a world record.

Evans Chebet of Kenya was third in 2:05:31.

Bekele is considered one of the greatest distance runners of all time. He won three Olympic titles and five world championship golds and is the world record holder over 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

But he had been slow getting into the marathon, with his previous best of 2:05.04 set in his debut in winning the Paris race in 2014. He was third in London in April, after battling an Achilles’ tendon injury.

Bekele broke the Ethiopian record for the marathon, previously held by the great Haile Gebrselassie, who won the Berlin Marathon and set a world record of 2:03.59 in 2008.

Aberu Kebede led an Ethiopian sweep in the women’s race in 2:20:45. Birhane Dibaba was second in 2:23:58 and Ruti Aga third in 2:24:41.

MORE: Usain Bolt says he received offers to play wide receiver in the NFL (video)