RIO DE JANEIRO — U.S. wrestler Jordan Burroughs came to the Rio Olympics expecting to build a legacy so great he could transcend his sport.
Instead, the defending Olympic and world champion was left to try and explain the unexplainable.
Burroughs, considered by many the best wrestler in the world, was stunned by Russia’s Aniuar Geduev on Friday in the quarterfinals of men’s freestyle wrestling.
Geduev, a three-time European champion ranked second in the world, upended Burroughs 3-2 at 74 kilograms to hand the American just his third international loss and knock him out of gold-medal contention.
A devastated Burroughs was later routed 11-1 by Uzbekistan’s Bekzod Abdurakhmonov in the loser’s bracket with a potential bronze still on the line.
“This was supposed to be my year. This was supposed to be my breakthrough performance,” said Burroughs as he wiped away tears that had mixed with blood from a head cut. “I’ve done everything right. I’ve sacrificed so much to get here. ... I wanted to be among the greats. I wanted to be a Simone Biles, a Michael Phelps, nationally. I wanted to be those guys, and it’s unfortunate.”
Geduev jumped to a 3-0 lead in a match stopped several times so officials could clean that cut on Burroughs’ head.
Burroughs scored a late takedown, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit.