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.