Jordan Burroughs sprains MCL, wins bronze at World Wrestling Championships

Jordan Burroughs
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Jordan Burroughs sprained an MCL in his first-round match at the World Championships, advanced to the semifinals, suffered his first-ever defeat to a foreign opponent and rebounded to win a bronze medal Tuesday.

Burroughs, the reigning Olympic and World champion in the 163-pound freestyle division, said he felt a “pretty good pop” during his victory over his first opponent, Augusto Midana of Guinea-Bissau.

“I just remember in the first period, I kind of tweaked it a little bit, trying to run corners,” Burroughs told reporters in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. “It just limited my mobility a little bit. But that’s what happens. You’ve got to protect yourself. Part of being great is being able to stay injury free.”

Burroughs said Midana apologized to him afterward.

“It wasn’t his fault at all,” Burroughs said. “It’s just the nature of the game.”

After that, Burroughs won two more matches and then lost to Russian Denis Tsargush 9-2 in the semifinals while wrestling with a wrapped left leg (video here). Tsargush went on to win gold.

“Obviously, it wasn’t the same, but Tsargush was well prepared,” Burroughs said of his injury, but said later he didn’t feel pain. “I’m not going to make an excuse as to why I lost today. I don’t want to even go there. I don’t want to say that pain was the terms of why I didn’t compete well in the semifinals.”

He came back to win bronze, pinning Ukraine’s Rustam Dudaiev.

“Jordan couldn’t move like he usually does,” U.S. coach Bruce Burnett said, according to USA Wrestling. “He did the best he could. He showed a lot of character and resolve and guts. … He’s a class act and a great leader for our team. I would’ve liked to have seen him wrestle Tsargush when both guys were 100 percent.”

Burroughs moved to 92-2 in his international career, having suffered his first loss to countryman Nick Marable on Feb. 15.

Tsargush won the 2009 and 2010 World Championships, before Burroughs began his run of three straight global titles in 2011.

Tsargush, 27, was the only man to push Burroughs, 26, to three periods at the 2012 Olympics, in the semifinals. He did the same at the 2011 World Championships in the round of 16. They did not meet at the 2013 Worlds, won by Burroughs four weeks after breaking an ankle.

“I didn’t go home with what I wanted, which was gold, but I still got a bronze, so I’m happy about that,” Burroughs said. “There’s going to be a lot more years to come of great wrestling between us two.”

The U.S.’ other 2012 Olympic wrestling champion, Jake Varner, lost in the second round of the 213-pound division Tuesday and was later eliminated from medal contention.

The 2015 World Championships are in Las Vegas.

“I was real excited going into this year,” Burroughs said. “I’m like, man, I’m injury free, I’m feeling good, I’ve been training hard for a long time. This is it. This is my chance to become legendary. I still think I’ve done a pretty good job in this sport. It’s not over for me yet. I’m going back to the drawing board.”

Burroughs said his goal is still to match two-time Olympic champion John Smith‘s U.S. record of six global championships.

“John, if you’re watching, I’m still coming for you,” Burroughs said. “It’s going to take a couple years longer, maybe, but I’m still going for six.”

Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross would not go back to old partners

Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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