Former wrestling gold medalist ends Olympic comeback bid
CORALVILLE, Iowa — Former gold medalist Rulon Gardner ended his Olympic comeback bid on Friday as he failed to appear to weigh in for the US Olympic team wresting trials.
Gardner, 40, said in a statement released by USA Wrestling that he was within 2.3 kg of reaching the 120 kg upper limit for his weight class.
“I’m disappointed I didn’t make the weigh-in. I worked hard,” Gardner said. “I’m glad I did this and have my health back.”
Gardner, from rural Wyoming, stunned Russian wrestling legend Alexander Karelin for the Greco-Roman 130 kg gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
He beat the odds again when he came back from a snowmobile accident and returned to the Olympic stage to win bronze in Athens four years later.
After retiring from wrestling, he gained weight but had decided to give the sport another go after appearing on the US television reality show “The Biggest Loser,” which follows the efforts of its subjects to slim down.
USA Wresting executive director Rich Bender applauded Gardner’s “gallant effort” to make one last Olympic bid and said Gardner would continue to be “an asset” to America’s Greco-Roman federation.