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Friday, January 7, 2011

THE BIG MAN GETS EVEN BIGGER. CAN HE NOW LOSE IT ALL?


Rulon Gardner is a man who once did the impossible.  At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Gardner defeated Alexander Karelin, the Greco-Roman Wrestling legend who had not been defeated in over 13 years of international competition.  More than having never been defeated, no wrestler had scored even a point against the Russian titan in over a decade.

But Gardner beat him, winning the gold medal.

Since that history making event, Rulon added to his impressive list of accomplishments by winning a bronze medal at the Athens Olympics, fighting Hidehiko Yoshida in Pride and becoming a celebrity spokesman.  However, it seems time hasn’t been kind to the Greco grappler in other respects.  Since his retirement, Gardner’s weight ballooned from a svelte 265 lbs. to a scale tipping 474 lbs.  That’s one humongous former athlete.

Now Gardner hopes to win yet another competition as a contestant on NBC television’s weight loss series “The Biggest Loser.”  In the season premiere, Rulon proved to definitely be a man who was severely overweight and out of shape.  But he also showed the serious athlete’s dedication as he and his teammate easily defeated their opponents in the episode’s first physical challenge.

Despite the hyper-sentimentality of this kitschy reality show, I was impressed by the willpower and determination Gardner showed in that first challenge.  He dug deep and won.  That victory just reminds me that the key to success, on the mat or in anything else, requires an intense positive mindset and desire to achieve.  I congratulate him on that little victory as well as the bucket load of weight he lost during the first week on the show.

I’m eager to see how the rest of the series’ season turns out for Rulon.  I expect great things for him, as I know he’s no stranger to challenges, hard work, discipline and sacrifice.  Sheer luck alone doesn’t allow someone to achieve the impossible.  Rulon did it once, I’d like to see him do it again.

Rulon's fight in Pride versus Yoshida.

5 comments:

  1. Why Rulon of all people? Being a former Olympian, the show's going to be a piece of cake for him. If it weren't for him not liking to hit people, I believe he'd be quite a force in MMA, since he'd quite likely have the best wrestling in MMA in the early 2000s.

    But if it's not skill alone, it's definitely his inhuman luck. And I'm not just talking about his win against the 13 year undefeated Karelin. The man survived getting hit with a bow and arrow as a kid, he got hit by a car while riding a motorcycle and survived, he got stranded in a snowy wilderness and survived, but he got a frostbite in the process - which had one of his toes amputated, and finally, he survived a frickin' plane crash (which they crashed on a lake), swam for an hour to shore and went overnight w/o fire and shelter until a chance encounter with a fisherman outside his route got them rescued.

    The man had been playing against odds greater than the lottery!

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  2. If all that's true he should get a Tom Hanks award.

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  3. Disgusting!

    Looks the best competition for Rulon these days is the "sport" of Competitive Eating.

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  4. Looks like he's in shape to DSTRY a pile of cheeseburgers!

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  5. ''More than having never been defeated, no wrestler had scored even a point against the Russian titan in over a decade.''

    Just a note: He didn't score any points. They took half a point off Karelin for a technical foul (disengaged in a way that used to be acceptable before)after a new rule change in that Olympic games. Sorry he was lucky as he did nothing on his own. Just not in the same class as Karelin but ggame that he was willing to give it a go.

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