undefeated “Russian Bear” in the “Miracle on the Mat.” He came back to win Bronze in Athens, when he ceremoniously left his shoes on the mat and retired after the match. Rulon performs motivational speeches for corporations, schools and community groups.
Rulon's wrestling career began when he was six years old. For one week every year, Star Valley would have a wrestling camp, which always concluded with a tournament on the weekend. Rulon participated in this from six years old until he started junior high school at 12 years old. Rulon began a regular wrestling season while in junior high and continued with the wrestling seasons until he graduated from the University of Nebraska.
Rulon is very proud of graduating from the University of Nebraska with a degree in physical education. After graduating from the University of Nebraska, Rulon continued his Olympic wrestling pursuit with full-time dedication. Winning the Gold in Sydney did not come without dedication and sacrifice. Rulon has sacrificed much in order to reach his Olympic aspirations.
Rulon’s charmed life nearly came to an end, however, when he was lost in the Wyoming wilderness after a snowmobile accident. Surviving in sub-zero temperatures, sopping wet, for hours, Rulon in the end suffered the amputation of a toe.
Rulons life has recently taken another turn: he is a contestant on Season 11 of NBC's The Biggest Loser: Couples. Gardner weighed in at 474 pounds, however, by the end of his first week of weight loss efforts he lost 32 pounds.
Rulon has experienced wins as well as losses in his life. Rulon has never dwelled on the negatives in his life; instead he takes each challenge and uses it as a means to improve his life.
- Never Give Up, Never Stop Trying: 7 Steps to Success
Rulon Gardner speaks on turning negative moments into character building experiences. As a child he did not have the easiest life. The family barn burnt down leaving him to milk the cows in below freezing weather; he was often made fun of at school for his learning disability; and his teachers dissuades him from going to college because he’d “fail.” Throughout all the negativity though, he had a caring family that instilled him with a high work ethic and impressive resilience. “I have a very strong core, a strong subconscious,” he comments explaining that this enabled him “to focus and continue to push everyday, not just in wrestling, but in life.”