wrestling

Henry Cejudo
Reuters

Olympic champion loses gold medal escaping California fire, reports say

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Henry Cejudo suffered foot burns and lost his Olympic gold medal escaping a California wildfire on Monday, according to reports.

Cejudo did not return messages seeking confirmation Tuesday.

The wrestler turned UFC fighter said he was lucky to be alive after jumping out of the second floor of a two-story hotel to escape the smoke at 4:30 a.m. on Monday, according to Yahoo Sports.

“You know, the medal just was an object, just a medal and that’s it,” Cejudo said, according to the report. “What really meant something was the blood, the sweat, the tears that went into getting that medal. I’ll always have the memories of that with me.

“I’m not too worried about that. This was a tragedy, just like that terrible thing that happened in [Las] Vegas. It’s awful. Losing a medal, man, I am fortunate to be here talking to you and being alive. That’s the important thing.”

Cejudo, who became the then-youngest U.S. Olympic wrestling champion at 21 at Beijing 2008, gained instant fame as the son of undocumented immigrants from Mexico. In Rio, Kyle Snyder broke Cejudo’s record as youngest gold medalist.

Cejudo’s story was told in a book, “American Victory.”

After failing to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials, Cejudo debuted in mixed martial arts in 2013. He is 11-2 with a scheduled fight Dec. 2.

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Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Snyder lead U.S. to first freestyle wrestling team title since 1995

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Jordan BurroughsTwitter handle reads “All I See Is Gold.”

He won 74kg gold medals at the 2012 Olympics, as well as at the world wrestling championships in 2011, 2013, and 2015.

But he failed to earn a medal of any color at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Burroughs is seeing gold once again, after claiming his fourth world championship title Saturday in Paris.

“I’ve never taken second place,” Burroughs said to reporters in Paris. “If I’m in the finals, I’m going to win it.”

Burroughs helped the U.S. win the men’s freestyle team title for the first time since 1995.

It was an even matchup between Burroughs and Russia’s Khetag Tsabolov, the 2014 world champion. Neither athlete led by more than two points until Burroughs won 9-6.

Exhausted, Burroughs fell to the mat before taking a lap with a U.S. flag.

“I actually tried to rip my singlet, but it was too tightly bound,” Burroughs said, laughing. “I’m not as strong as I thought I was.”

Burroughs, who said he will celebrate by eating a French crepe, is already looking ahead to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, when he will be 32.

“I’m hoping Tokyo can be the final chapter for me,” Burroughs said. “Rio couldn’t be it. I couldn’t go off with that being the lasting imprint on my legacy, finishing in ninth place.”

Also on Saturday, Kyle Snyder defeated Russia’s Abdulrashid Sadulaev to win the 97kg world championship. Sadulayev, who won the 2014 and 2015 World titles and 2016 Olympic gold at 86kg, moved up to 97kg this year to potentially meet Snyder for the first time.

The 21-year-old Snyder became the youngest American wrestler to win a world title in 2015 and an Olympic title in 2016.

“Kyle is the new G.O.A.T. of this era,” Burroughs said, using the acronym “Greatest of All Time” to describe his teammate. “He truly motivates me.”

NBCSN will recap the world wrestling championships Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.

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MORE: Helen Maroulis dominates for world title after making history in Rio

J’den Cox wins bronze at World Wrestling Championships

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J’den Cox, bronze medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, added another bronze to his resume when he finished third in the 86-kilogram freestyle weight class at the United World Wrestling Senior World Championships on Friday.

Cox defeated Mihail Ganev of Bulgaria, the 2010 world champion in the 84-kilogram class, in dominant fashion, winning the match with a final score of 8-0.

Cox won his first four matches before a surprise loss to Slovakia’s Boris Makeoev in the semifinals took him out of the running for the world title.

After that loss, fellow American wrestler David Taylor tweeted criticism of how Cox wrestled against Makeoev.

After Cox won gold, he told FloWrestling he’d like to give a “big special thank you to David Taylor. Thank you for the motivation, because without your critique I don’t know if I would have been up to it.”

Cox is a three-time NCAA champion who graduated from Missouri University in May. He’ll return to MU as a volunteer assistant coach after worlds.

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