Since he won his Olympic gold medal, some fans have called Jordan Burroughs cocky. They've said he should be a bit more humble in his success.
I wholeheartedly disagree with anyone who criticizes Burroughs and his off-mat swagger. In fact, I believe the 24-year-old Olympic and world champion is exactly what American wrestling needs.
Wrestling isn't exactly the most fan-accessible sport. It's not like track or swimming, where the concept of winning is simple: reach the finish like first. In wrestling, there is a complicated scoring system, and it takes time to learn that system. In addition, there are multiple disciplines in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, each of which has different rules.
For someone who simply wants to sit down and watch wrestling casually, that can be difficult to understand.
In addition, wrestling often competes with mixed martial arts -- and the sports aren't simply competing for fans, but also for athletes. Money and fame is much more forthcoming in MMA, and athletes who could be successful wrestling on the international scene often bail on the sport before they reach that international success.
Burroughs wants to be the greatest wrestler in the history of American wrestling. In order to do so, he would have to stick around, compete and win through the 2017 Olympic Games.
Burroughs' continued presence alone could be big for the wrestling community. The freestyle wrestling community needs a face, and it's much easier to get behind a wrestler if he's familiar. If Burroughs continues to wrestle through 2017, he could be in the spotlight for six consecutive years. That would give casual fans more than enough time to get to know him as a wrestler and an athlete.
And Burroughs' personality is a perfect fit. In a sport that struggles to attract fans, Burroughs is exciting and likable. He's charismatic and confident, and he backs his talk up with results. He's young, well spoken and it's easy to believe in him.
It's true that Burroughs is not ever likely to achieve the fame and recognition of a Michael Phelps or a Usain Bolt, but with an Olympic gold medal and a world title, he's headed in the right direction. Burroughs is the guy needed to help grow wrestling in the United States.
Sandra Johnson is a longtime Olympic fan. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46