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Jordan Burroughs’ Olympic Wrestling Trials run ends; championship finals set

STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania — Jordan Burroughs, who owns the U.S. wrestling record of seven combined Olympic and world titles, was eliminated on the first day of the two-day U.S. Olympic Trials on Friday night.

Burroughs, a 35-year-old with one Olympic gold medal (2012) and six world titles, fell 3-0 to Jason Nolf in the freestyle 74kg division at Penn State University. Burroughs won his first two matches in the single-elimination tournament.

Nolf advanced to face Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Kyle Dake in Saturday’s best-of-three championship series for a spot on the team for Paris.

Burroughs, who lost to Dake in the Tokyo Olympic Trials finals, has said that the end of his career is near, but didn’t publicly set a definite endpoint leading into these trials.

WRESTLING TRIALS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

All of Friday’s tournament winners advanced to best-of-three championship series Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. ET on Peacock, to determine 13 Olympic team members among men’s freestyle, women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman.

In the other five classes where the U.S. has not yet qualified an Olympic quota spot, Saturday’s winners advance to a last-chance international qualifying tournament in May in Turkiye.

Also Friday, Rio Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox was defeated by Kollin Moore, then took his shoes off and left them on the mat in the symbolic act of retirement. Cox, a two-time world champion, missed six months last year due to a fractured ankle.

Cox retires after US Olympic Wrestling Trials loss
J'den Cox leaves his shoes on the mat after suffering a defeat to Kollin Moore in the men's freestyle 97kg challenge semifinal at the U.S. Olympics Wrestling Trials. Afterward, an introspective Cox shared why it's time.

“If I’m losing to guys that I was beating before, I’m doing a disservice to myself and to them to stay a part of it,” said Cox, a 29-year-old who became a father to twins in November. “On top of that, I think now in my life with my wife, kids, I’m in a position now where I’m done trying to conquer the world, and I’m going to try and make it better for them.”

Isaac Trumble later defeated Moore to advance to face 2016 Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder in Saturday’s finals.

Other marquee championship series include Tokyo Olympic gold medalist David Taylor against fellow former Nittany Lion Aaron Brooks at 86kg, Rio Olympic champion Helen Maroulis against two-time world medalist Jacarra Winchester at 53kg and six-time world champion Adeline Gray against Kennedy Blades at 76kg.

Gray, a 33-year-old who had twins in July 2022, is bidding to become the first woman to make a U.S. Olympic wrestling team after childbirth, according to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

In Greco-Roman, Aliaksandr Kikiniou, who turned 44 on April 9, advanced to face Kamal Bey in Saturday’s championship series at 77kg. The U.S. hasn’t qualified a quota spot in that division, so the Kikiniou-Bey winner must finish in the top three at the May tournament in Turkiye to advance to Paris.

Kikiniou wrestled for his native Belarus at the Olympics in 2004 and 2012. He said he still competes because “wrestling is my life” and because he trains with his 15- and 17-year-old sons.

Kikiniou said he received U.S. citizenship in July 2022 and became eligible to represent the U.S. in wrestling at the start of 2023. He is bidding to become the oldest Olympic wrestler since 1988 and the oldest American to wrestle at the Olympics since 1904, according to the OlyMADMen.