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Jordan Burroughs suffers first U.S. loss since 2009 at world trials

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Jordan Burroughs lost on U.S. soil for the first time since 2009 but rallied to make the world championships team on Saturday night.

Burroughs, a 2012 Olympic champion and three-time world champion, beat Kyle Dake 2-1 in the best-of-three 74kg freestyle finals at the world team trials in his hometown of Lincoln, Neb.

“After leaving Rio de Janeiro with no medal, I promised myself I’d never let a man feel like that again,” said Burroughs, who had not competed in Lincoln since 2011. “My wife thinks I’m a whole lot sexier when I’m winning, so it’s going to be a good night for me.”

Burroughs lost the opener to Dake on a 2-2 tiebreaker but rallied to win the second and third matches 8-4 and 6-2. He joins Rio gold medalists Helen Maroulis and Kyle Snyder headlining the U.S. team for worlds in Paris in August.

“I don’t even want to be the leader anymore,” Burroughs said. “I think this is Kyle Snyder’s time.”

Burroughs, 29, moved to 142-5 in his senior international freestyle career dating to 2011. The opening loss to Dake marked his second pro defeat to an American (Nick Marable, 2014) and first on U.S. soil since 2009, when he wrestled folkstyle at the University of Nebraska.

Dake is one of only four men to win four NCAA wrestling titles, doing so from 2010-13. He’s the only one to do so in four different weight classes or without a redshirt year. But Dake, 26, has struggled against the older Burroughs, getting swept at the world team trials in 2013 and 2015.

Last year, Dake moved up one weight class in part to avoid Burroughs at the Olympic Trials, where only one wrestler per weight class advanced to the Games.

But Dake lost in the 86kg finals at Olympic Trials to Missouri’s J’den Cox, who went on to take bronze in Rio before his senior NCAA season.

Dake returned to 74kg this year and pushed Burroughs to a 2-2 affair at the U.S. Open in April, but lost on a tiebreaker.

Dake had to win two matches earlier Saturday just to face Burroughs, who earned a bye into the finals via that U.S. Open victory.

“I had to sleep in the same house with two toddlers all week, so I say we’re even,” Burroughs joked of his two kids. “I’m getting older, a little bit slower. It’s a little bit harder to get up in the morning and go to practice.”

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MORE: Snyder savors matchup with Russian Tank

World downhill champion Ilka Stuhec tears ACL

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Lindsey Vonn’s top rival for downhill gold is in danger of missing the upcoming Olympics.

Ilka Stuhec, a world champion Alpine skier from Slovenia, suffered a torn ACL after a practice crash in Austria this weekend.

Stuhec had become a strong medal favorite for PyeongChang after winning FIS World Cup titles in downhill and Alpine combined last season. She also won a gold medal in downhill at the 2017 World Championships, where Vonn placed third.

According to a post on the FIS website, surgery is set for this Wednesday, with more information to come after that. But preliminary reports suggest that she is likely to miss the Olympics.

“For now it looks like Ilka Stuhec will have to miss a large part or maybe the whole World Cup season, including the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea,” a spokesperson for Struhec told Reuters.

In a tweet, Struhec acknowledged that she would be sidelined “for a few months.”

The Olympics start in less than four months.

 

U.S. Ski & Snowboard mourns after 17-year-old aerials skier found dead

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Mikey Lillis, a 17-year-old aerials skier, died in his sleep at his home in East Rochester, N.Y., overnight Saturday, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

“We are a family, and as a family our entire team grieves for Mikey, his own family and his teammates,” U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Tiger Shaw said in a statement. “We’ll remember him for the pathway he was following and the goals he was beginning to achieve. Our condolences go out to his parents Bernie and Jamie and the entire Lillis family.”

Lillis was working his way to join his two older brothers at the elite international level. He made three podiums on the Nor-Am Cup tour between the last two seasons.

Jon Lillis, 23, is the reigning world champion in aerials. Chris Lillis, 19, won the FIS Rookie of the Year award last season with four top-10 finishes on the World Cup.