Olympian Jordan Burroughs and The Salvation Army bring ‘Wrestling for All’ to the Camden Kroc

By Hugo Bravo

On Saturday, August 19th, Olympic gold medalist and six-time world freestyle wrestling champion Jordan Burroughs hosted a “Wrestling for All” clinic at The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Community Center in Camden, NJ.

Burroughs, a native of Camden who attended Salvation Army summer camps and programs in his youth, is one the greatest freestyle wrestlers of all time. During the day-long session, he and a team of fellow wrestlers demonstrated the stances, techniques, and drills that freestyle wrestlers practice for the sport. Local high schools and wrestling clubs lent mats to practice on, and the Camden Kroc provided lunch for all the attendees. Burroughs and his team also spoke to the children about their individual paths in wrestling, and how it made them into who they are today.

“We have the most decorated American wrestler of all time coming here to show how sports builds community, discipline, and a sense of honor. That’s something we all need,” said Major Richard Sanchez, corps officer at the Camden Kroc.

“Today has been awesome. The kids had a blast, and we’re so happy to have had Jordan here teaching them,” said Zach Moore, marketing specialist at the Camden Kroc. “We’re excited to bring wrestling to the Kroc, and we’re hoping to do more events like this in the future.”

“The kids were attentive, and we got to share the message of wrestling. The Salvation Army did a great job of helping us facilitate it,” said Burroughs. “There are going to be champions from here; both in wrestling and in life. They are going to have a major influence in their community, and hopefully we can be a catalyst for it.

“That’s a big responsibility. There are a lot of people who poured into who I am today and gave me the desire to be more than I was.”One of those people was Burroughs remembers is freestyle Olympic wrestler Joe Williams, whom he met in 1997.

“I was a skinny little kid, a nugget! I had never seen anyone with as many muscles as Joe Williams,” admits Burroughs laughing. “But hearing about what he accomplished on the biggest stage was special to me. It made me believe that I could have those muscles and that success. So, I hope that the kids that spent their time here can see what wrestling is and how they can achieve it themselves.”

Burroughs, a devoted Christian, says he is grateful to partner with a like-minded organization like The Salvation Army. He and his wrestling colleagues were impressed by the size and facilities of the Camden Kroc, noting how crucial the space given was for the event. “If I have the opportunity to connect with someone who has the same goals and approach to the world, I take it,” says Burroughs. “I could not have achieved what I have in life without my faith. If you ask me what is one thing that I could give to the world to instantly change it for the better, the first thing I say is faith and a connection with God. The second is wrestling.”