US wrestler Burroughs delivers on gold-medal promise

Posted Aug. 10, 2012, at 7:28 p.m.

LONDON — United States wrestler Jordan Burroughs had his eyes on a gold medal for months, and he let everyone know about his plans.

Then he delivered at the London Games Friday.

The 24-year-old American backed up all that talk, beating Iran’s Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi 1-0, 1-0 in the men’s 74-kilogram freestyle division to give the U.S. its first wrestling gold in London.

“A lot of people call it cocky, people call it over confident,” said Burroughs, who selected (at)alliseeisgold for his Twitter handle. “But I knew I was going to win.”

Burroughs, who grew up in New Jersey, has won 38 straight international freestyle matches and is the first Olympian to claim the $250,000 prize from the Living the Dream Medal Fund, a program designed to support U.S. wrestling.

An hour after beating Goudarzi, the tweet-happy Burroughs posted a shot of himself beaming beside his gold.

Maris Strombergs of Latvia won his first gold in 2008. Now he has two.

Strombergs defended his BMX title over a harrowing course in Olympic Park, taking the lead at the start and never relinquishing it. He cruised across the finish line in 37.576 seconds to add to the title he won in Beijing, when the sport made its Olympic debut.

“It’s just amazing,” Strombergs said. “I think everyone at home, they watched the race, and deep inside they were hoping I could repeat, and I think my country believed in me.”

Former world champion Mariana Pajon won the women’s BMX competition, giving Colombia its first gold at the London Games. With David Beckham watching from the stands, Pajon hit form at the right time after being hampered by a shoulder injury earlier this season.

The rest of the Olympic action Friday:

SWIMMING: Ous Mellouli of Tunisia won the grueling 10-kilometer race to become the first swimmer to win medals in the pool and open water at the same Olympics.

Mellouli pulled away from a small group of leaders in the fifth of six laps and finished in 1 hour, 49 minutes, 55.1 seconds in the murky waters of the Serpentine in Hyde Park. He also won bronze in the 1,500-meter freestyle last week.

It was the second gold of Mellouli’s Olympic career. He also took the 1,500 at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Thomas Lurz of Germany was second, 3.4 seconds behind, and first-time Olympian Richard Weinberger of Canada grabbed the bronze.

The crowd favorite was Benjamin Schulte, a 16-year-old from Guam, who finished far behind all the other competitors. Fans stuck around and applauded loudly when Schulte finally finished nearly 14 minutes after Mellouli.

SAILING: Australia’s Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, and New Zealand’s Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie won the 470 class gold medals by overwhelming their British rivals on Weymouth Bay.

The victory by Belcher and Page guaranteed that Australia will win more sailing gold medals than the strong, well-funded British team. That’s a remarkable feat, although the British will lead all countries with five sailing medals — one gold and four silvers. The British came in thinking they had a shot at medals in all 10 classes.

The Aussies lead the British 3-1 in golds, with only the women’s match racing to be decided. The Australians will pick up either a gold or silver in that event Saturday as skipper Olivia Price and her crew advanced to the final against Spain’s Tamara Dominguez and her crew.

The Americans failed to win an Olympic sailing medal for the first time since 1936.

SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING: There’s no question which country is the best at synchronized swimming.

Russia grabbed the team gold medal for its fourth consecutive team victory and sixth straight overall gold.

The Russians totaled 197.030 points with a free routine featuring swimmers doing acrobatic flips and pirouetting like ballerinas above the water.

The team of Anastasia Davydova, Maria Gromova, Natalia Ishchenko, Elvira Khasyanova, Alexandra Patskevich, Svetlana Romashina, Anzhelika Timanina and Alla Shishkina swam in black, red and gold suits featuring a spider web design on the back.

China earned the silver at 194.010, and Spain took the bronze four years after winning silver in Beijing.

CANOE SPRINT: Ed McKeever of Britain clocked the quickest time over the heats and semifinals as the 200-meter canoe sprint made its Olympic debut.

Racing in front of a flag-waving crowd under sunny, cloudless skies at Dorney Lake, the barrel-chested McKeever crossed in 35.087 seconds in his heat and then easily won his semifinal.

Canoeing officials replaced the 500-meter race with the 200 sprint in a bid to inject more excitement into the sport and attempt to move it out from rowing’s shadow at the Olympics. The 200 races were played out in front of the whole length of three packed grandstands, generating a vibrant atmosphere.

In the only 200-meter event for women, Lisa Carrington of New Zealand and Natasa Douchev-Janics of Hungary set up a probable shootout in the K-1 final.

ELSEWHERE IN LONDON: Park Chu-young scored to lead South Korea to a 2-0 victory over Japan and a bronze medal in men’s soccer. Brazil and Mexico play in the gold-medal match Saturday at Wembley Stadium. … Dzhamal Otarsultanov won the men’s 55-kg freestyle category, beating Vladimer Khinchegashvili of Georgia to give the Russians four wrestling golds at the games, tops for any nation.

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