Wyoming Native Set to Wrestle His Way to the 2024 Olympics
At the 2000 Olympics, Wyoming native Rulon Gardner shattered global expectations on the wrestling mat. Gardner defeated Russia's renowned wrestler and three-time Olympic gold medalist, Alexander Karelin. It was a David vs. Goliath showdown that shocked the world.
To put it in perspective, Rulon Gardner was a first-timer at the Olympics that year. Karelin was a 6'3'' giant known as "The Russian Bear." Karelin held a 13-year undefeated streak at the Olympics until his match against Rulon. Britannica hails Aleksandr Karelin as "the greatest Greco-Roman wrestler of all time."
The upset by Rulon Gardner at the 2000 Sydney Olympics was followed by Karelin announcing his retirement that year. That year, Gardner earned a gold medal, bringing pride to his home state of Wyoming. He went on to earn a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics before announcing his retirement.
Rulon Gardner Returns to Wrestling
But that's all changing. Wyoming's wrestling star has announced his return to the mat, according to an article by TMZ Sports. Rulon told TMZ, "I still wanna give more back to the sport, the sport that I love and that's wrestling."
The announcement comes as a surprise, considering that Rulon has been retired for nearly two decades. Now in his 50s, Rulon knows the road to the Olympics will be tough. But, he told TMZ, "I know I can compete with the guys in the U.S., the question is do I have what it takes in my 50s to get back to the Olympic games?"
Doing the impossible is something Rulon Gardner does well. Of course, no one would expect a dairy farmer from Afton, Wyoming, to win gold at the Olympics. But not only has he defeated an undefeatable opponent at the Olympics but he's also survived extreme dangers in Wyoming's wilderness and a plane crash. If Rulon can do all that, there's no doubt his goal to return to the Olympics is on the table.
Learn more about Rulon Gardner's remarkable life by clicking here.