Rulon Gardner received gold in wrestling in arguably the largest upset in Olympics historical past … and now the American hero, who’s 51 years outdated, tells TMZ Sports he is making a comeback, and the purpose is the Summer Games!
“I nonetheless wanna give extra again to the game, the game that I like and that is wrestling. When you’ve gotten a purpose like wrestling it makes you get into form so I’ve misplaced a considerable quantity of weight, getting wholesome once more, getting again after it, and now it is getting on the mat,” Gardner mentioned.
“Every day it hurts like heck nevertheless it’s so enjoyable to have the ability to get on the market and throw with these younger children. It’s loopy ‘trigger I’m wrestling children half my age.”
If you do not know Rulon’s story … he received a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling throughout the 2000 Games in Sydney. But, that does not even start to inform the story … ‘trigger Gardner beat essentially the most dominant and feared wrestler of all time, 6’3″, 286 lb. Aleksandr Karelin.
“The Russian Bear” was considered unbeatable. He’d received the earlier 3 gold medals. He hadn’t misplaced a match since getting into the worldwide competitors in 1988. For crying out loud, he hadn’t given up a single level in 6 years. To this present day he is regarded by most as the best beginner wrestler ever.
But, in some way, someway … David slayed Goliath. And now, Rulon needs to do one thing maybe equally laborious — compete at a world-class stage in his 50s.
The journey began as a approach for Rulon to drop some pounds … and he tells us he is down about 150 lbs. An unimaginable achievement, however not his purpose.
“Our purpose is to go on the market and present we are able to nonetheless compete with the top-level wrestlers of the world. I do know I can compete with the fellows within the U.S., the query is do I’ve what it takes in my 50s to get again to the Olympic video games?”
If he can full the comeback, we requested Rulon the place the achievement would rank within the historical past of Olympic competitors.
“Dara Torres, she did it just a few years in the past as a swimmer in her 40s and no one has ever thought of doing it in your 50s and particularly a fight sport. It’s not simple on the physique. Your speaking about getting hit within the head, you are speaking about getting hit within the physique, shoulder, and knees. There’s simply so many physique components.”
“Last yr, I began throwing individuals and I’m like oh my gosh, I used to be throwing guys and my physique is saying, ‘what are you doing?’ It nonetheless says that nevertheless it’s like getting again on the bike and it feels regular once more.”
The subsequent Summer Olympics go down in Paris in 2024. Will Rulon Gardner be a part of the staff? It’s a lofty purpose, however are you gonna guess in opposition to the man who slayed The Russian Bear?!