Jordan Burroughs: Gold Medal Interview

10 Aug

Hey athletes of the world, come talk to me, you’ll win a medal.

Yesterday I posted my interview with Carli Lloyd, the US Woman’s midfielder, before the gold medal match. Lloyd went on to score the only two goals of the game and secure the win for the USA.

And here’s my newest interview with Jordan Burroughs from June, a South Jersey wrestler who just won gold in the 74kg freestyle. I had a great time talking with Jordan: he was hilarious. At the same time when it came to talking about competition you could tell that he was in it to win it and would take no prisoners.

Meet Jordan here from my magazines website, or read below for the full interview:

What was your first reaction to finding out you’ve made it to the Olympics for the first time?
I was super excited. It’s a bit of a surreal moment but at the same time I expected to make the team. That was a big stepping stone for me.

How long have you been wrestling? What made you decided to start wrestling?
I’ve been wrestling since I was 5 years old, so about 18 years. I just brought a flyer home from school one day when I was a kid and really wanted to do it. I loved the WWF too. I was kind of a late bloomer when I was small and wrestling was something you needed to be big at, but I really excelled. And then when I grew I took things to the next level.

What hardships have you overcome to get to this stage in your career?
Competing well enough in high school to get a full scholarship was really hard, but wrestling itself comes with a lot of hardships. There was a lot of weight cutting, training, long hours, to get to where I am.

Describe a typical day in your life as the Olympics draw closer.
I wake up around 9 a.m., lift for about an hour, then lunch, maybe an hour nap, and then its right back to practice. Probably about four hours a day just training. It’s a 24 hour a day job but it’s my passion. Not very many people can say that they get paid to get to up and do what they love as a job but I do, and I feel lucky.

What is your training diet like?
You are what you eat so I and have been working on eating a lot healthier. I try to put the right fuel into my tank.

How do you react to the pressure of something as big as the Olympics?
This is the pinnacle of my career so far and in my life. I’m trying to embrace the pressure. I try to put high standards on myself and I already expect to win. I visualize the Olympics and picture that moment. I’m happy to be on the team but its kind of like test driving a car. My goal is getting to the gold, not just the team.

Describe the relationship of the entire wrestling team.
We’re a really close knit group. We all have the same goal in mind, and when you get seven guys all fighting fort the same guy you can’t help but develop camaraderie between the group. We’re like brothers.

Is there added stress knowing that South Jersey will be watching you extra closely?
It’s awesome. Not only do I represent my hometown and my state but my entire country. It’s really motivating to have such a wide fan base. Usually, wrestling is a real small, close-knit community and I’m excited that it’s developed a national coverage.

Where do you have to go when you make it back to South Jersey?
My parents still live in South Jersey, but it’s tough to get there at the moment. But I try to get home to my family as soon as possible. I have to go to Wawa when I get home. I love Wawa, and they don’t have those out in Nebraska.

You’ve made wrestling a big part of your lifestyle. What are your plans after the Olympics have concluded?
Vacation first. Obviously it depends on how I do but gold medal or no medal I’m going on vacation and seeing my family. That’s the best part of having such a loyal family; they’re always proud of me, when I win or lose, it doesn’t matter.

What are your hobbies outside of the gym? Is there another side to you that people might not expect?
Shopping, definitely. It’s different for wrestlers out in Nebraska, there’s a lot of Midwesterners that don’t love shopping but I like to look good when I’m wrestling and when I’m not wrestling.

What do you listen to on your iPod to get ready before a big competition?
I listen to a lot of stuff. My iPods got everything from Jay-Z to Justin Bieber. I like stuff that’s really relaxing, R&B, Chris Brown, things that cool me down and take my mind off of wrestling for a minute.

Do you have any rituals or superstitions you stick to during competition?
I’m really superstitious about my shoes. I like to wear the same shoes I’ve worn and competed in multiple times. It doesn’t matter what the most expensive or new shoe is. I can wear $20 shoes and be happy.

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