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Rulon  Gardner

Rulon Gardner

Olympic Gold Medalist

Rulon Gardner

Olympic Gold Medalist


Rulon Gardner, born August 16, 1971 in Afton, Wyoming, is an amateur wrestler in the Greco-Roman discipline from the United States. He graduated from the University of Nebraska. Gardner is perhaps most well known for his defeat of Alexander Karelin in the 2000 Summer Olympics. Karelin had been undefeated for 13 years, and had not given up a point in 6 years, prior to his loss in the gold medal match to Gardner.

After the 2000 Olympics he suffered a series of injuries, including an amputated toe and a dislocated wrist. He was also in a motorcycle accident. Despite his injuries, he won the U.S. Olympic trials for his weight class and competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics. At the 2004 Olympics, he was unable to repeat his 2000 performance, although he did win a bronze medal. After the bronze medal match, he left his shoes on the mat as a traditional symbol of retirement.

Gardner has since begun competing in mixed martial arts and in 2005 he became the host for a professional wrestling league called Real Pro Wrestling.

Aside from his Olympic medals, his achievements include: US Champion, 2001; James E. Sullivan Award for amateur athlete of the year, 2001; Gold medal, World Wrestling Championships, 2001; Jesse Owens Award, 2001; United States Olympic Committee Sportsman of the Year, 2001; ESPY award for US Male Olympic athlete of the year, 2001; Pan American Games champion, 1998; US Champion, 1997; World Cup Champion, 1996; US Champion, 1995.

Gardner has experienced wins as well as losses in his life, but has never dwelled on the negatives.  Instead, he takes each challenge and uses it as a means to improve his life.

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