Jordan Burroughs breaks U.S. wrestling record for Olympic, world titles

Jordan Burroughs
Getty
0 Comments

Jordan Burroughs won his sixth world wrestling title, combining with his 2012 Olympic title to become the first U.S. wrestler with seven global gold medals.

Burroughs, 34, won all five of his matches over the last two days at the world championships in Belgrade in the 79kg division, which is not an Olympic weight class.

He beat Iran’s Mohammad Nokhodi 4-2 in Friday’s final, using his trademark double leg takedown, in a rematch of last October’s world final also won by Burroughs.

“I’m still at the top of my game,” said Burroughs, a father of four who won his first world title in 2011 and is 10-0 in medal matches between the Olympics and worlds. “Before every match, I always remind myself that I chose this. This is chosen suffering.

“Someone’s going to break this [record] one day. Today is my day.”

Burroughs, who said in June that he plans to retire after the 2024 Olympics (whether or not he makes the team), for years harbored a goal of breaking John Smith‘s American record of six combined Olympic and world titles. Adeline Gray complicated the quest by winning her sixth gold last October, as did Burroughs. Gray, 31, is on a break, giving birth to twins in July.

“I’m going until I absolutely can’t anymore,” he said Friday. “As of now, that day hasn’t come yet.”

Burroughs’ 10 medals of any color between the Olympics and worlds are second in U.S. history to Bruce Baumgartner‘s 13.

“I’m the standard now for USA wrestling,” he said. “I’ve been at this for 12 years, and there’s no one who can say that I don’t deserve this.”

Burroughs won his Olympic gold medal in 2012 in the 74kg division and competed there through last year’s Olympic Trials, where he was beaten by Kyle Dake. Burroughs then moved up to the non-Olympic 79kg division, since Dake received a bye into the October 2021 Worlds at 74kg as a reigning Olympic medalist (bronze).

Burroughs must move back into an Olympic weight class by 2024, likely returning to 74kg with an eye on dethroning Dake at Olympic Trials.

Also Friday, American David Taylor beat rival Hassan Yazdani of Iran 7-1 in a rematch of last year’s Olympic 86kg final (won by Taylor with a takedown with 17 seconds left) and last October’s world championships final (won by Yazdani).

Taylor, 31, “contemplated retiring multiple times” since his Olympic title in Tokyo and “was hurt all year, hardly could train,” due at least in part to knee swelling.

“I just didn’t know if I wanted to do it anymore,” he said. “I achieved my lifelong goal of Olympic champion. I believed if I could go to world championships eight weeks later, I’d probably be done. Going there and losing, it was hard.”

Two U.S. wrestlers won back-to-back Olympic titles, and just one in the last century — Smith in 1988 and 1992. Burroughs and Taylor are older than any previous U.S. Olympic wrestling gold medalist, according to Olympedia.org.

“My wife, my coaches, my inner circle of people, they just sat me down and said, ‘What do you want? You’ve earned the right to do whatever you want to do.’ I’m not a loser. I’m not going out losing [at the October 2021 Worlds],” Taylor said. “[Yazdani] is burning that fire for me to continue going. He’s that barrier between me and a gold medal in Paris. World championships are great, but people remember us for the Olympics.”

American Zain Retherford, the 2017 and 2018 NCAA Wrestler of the Year at Penn State, took silver in the non-Olympic 70kg division. Retherford on Thursday clinched his first world medal in his third appearance, then on Friday fell 10-0 to Japan’s Taishi Narikuni in the final.

Earlier Friday, past world champions J’den Cox (92kg), Thomas Gilman (57kg) and Dake advanced to Saturday gold-medal matches.

Wrestlers from Belarus and Russia are banned due to the war in Ukraine. Russian wrestlers won the most medals at the 2021 World Championships (18) and were second to the Americans with eight medals at the Tokyo Games.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Kenenisa Bekele still eyes Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record, but a duel must wait

Kenenisa Bekele
Getty
0 Comments

LONDON — Kenenisa Bekele made headlines last week by declaring “of course I am the best” long distance runner ever. But the Ethiopian was fifth-best at Sunday’s London Marathon, finishing 74 seconds behind Kenya’s Amos Kipruto.

Bekele, 40, clocked 2:05:53, the fastest-ever marathon by a runner 40 years or older. He was with the lead pack until being dropped in the 21st mile.

But Bekele estimated he could have run 90 to 120 seconds faster had he not missed parts of six weeks of training with hip and joint injuries.

“I expect better even if the preparation is short,” he said. “I know my talent and I know my capacity, but really I couldn’t achieve what I expect.”

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history behind Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who broke his own world record by clocking 2:01:09 at the Berlin Marathon last week.

“I am happy when I see Eliud Kipchoge run that time,” Bekele said. “It motivates all athletes who really expect to do the same thing.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Bekele’s best time was within two seconds of Kipchoge’s previous world record (2:01:39). He described breaking Kipchoge’s new mark as the “main goal” for the rest of his career.

“Yes, I hope, one day it will happen, of course,” Bekele said. “With good preparation, I don’t know when, but we will see one more time.”

Nobody has won more London Marathons than Kipchoge, a four-time champion who set the course record (2:02:37) in 2019. But the two-time Olympic marathon champion did not run this year in London, as elite marathoners typically choose to enter one race each spring and fall.

Bekele does not know which race he will enter in the spring. But it will not be against Kipchoge.

“I need to show something first,” Bekele said. “I need to run a fast time. I have to check myself. This is not enough.”

Kipchoge will try to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles at the Paris Games. Bekele, who will be 42 in 2024, has not committed to trying to qualify for the Ethiopian team.

“There’s a long time to go before Paris,” Bekele said. “At this moment I am not decided. I have to show something.”

So who is the greatest long distance runner ever?

Bekele can make a strong case on the track:

Bekele
Four Olympic medals (three gold)
Six World Championship medals (five gold)
Former 5000m and 10,000m world-record holder

Kipchoge
Two Olympic medals
Two World Championship medals (one gold)

But Kipchoge can make a strong case on the pavement:

Bekele
Second-fastest marathoner in history
Two World Marathon Major victories

Kipchoge
Four of the five best marathon times in history
Two-time Olympic marathon champion
12 World Marathon Major victories

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Yalemzerf Yehualaw, Amos Kipruto win London Marathon

Yalemzerf Yehualaw
Getty
0 Comments

Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw became the youngest female runner to win the London Marathon, while Kenyan Amos Kipruto earned the biggest victory of his career in the men’s race.

Yehualaw, 23, clocked 2:17:26, prevailing by 41 seconds over 2021 London champ Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya.

Yehualaw tripped and fell over a speed bump around the 20-mile mark. She quickly rejoined the lead pack, then pulled away from Jepkosgei by running the 24th mile in a reported 4:43, which converts to 2:03:30 marathon pace; the women’s world record is 2:14:04.

Yehualaw and Jepkosgei were pre-race favorites after world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya withdrew Monday with a right hamstring injury.

On April 24, Yehualaw ran the fastest women’s debut marathon in history, a 2:17:23 to win in Hamburg, Germany.

She has joined the elite tier of female marathoners, a group led by Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir, the reigning Olympic, New York City and Boston champion. Another Ethiopian staked a claim last week when Tigist Assefa won Berlin in 2:15:37, shattering Yehualaw’s national record.

Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, finished Sunday’s race in 3:20:20 at age 65.

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Kipruto, 30, won the men’s race in 2:04:39. He broke free from the leading group in the 25th mile and crossed the finish line 33 seconds ahead of Ethiopian Leul Gebresilase, who said he had hamstring problems.

Kipruto, one of the pre-race favorites, had never won a major marathon but did finish second behind world record holder Eliud Kipchoge in Tokyo (2022) and Berlin (2018) and third at the world championships (2019) and Tokyo (2018).

Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest marathoner in history, was fifth after being dropped in the 21st mile. His 2:05:53 was the fastest-ever marathon by a runner 40 years or older. Bekele ran his personal best at the 2019 Berlin Marathon — 2:01:41 — and has not run within four minutes of that time since.

The major marathon season continues next Sunday with the Chicago Marathon, headlined by a women’s field that includes Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich and American Emily Sisson.

London returns next year to its traditional April place after being pushed to October the last three years due to the pandemic.

MORE: Bekele looks ahead to Kipchoge chase after London Marathon

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!