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Don’t miss out as Sport Fuels Life gets up close and personal with Rulon Gardner, Olympic Gold Medalist wrestler. Gardner, a native of Afton, Wyoming is the last of nine children. He credits his strength from working on the family dairy farm. 

Rulon is no stranger to adversity and has used his struggles to fuel him towards success. Academically, he struggled with a learning disability throughout his academic career. Physically, he suffered from an arrow’s puncturing his abdomen during an elementary school show-and-tell. In 1990, Rulon lost his first child due to a tragic car accident. In 2002, he nearly died in a snowmobile accident leaving him with an amputated toe and dislocated wrist. In 2007, he survived an airplane crash that forced him to swim an hour in 44 degrees Fahrenheit to reach shore. So, it goes without saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” has been the backbone to his life story. 

As if surviving the previous challenges was not impressive enough, Rulon went on to win the NJCAA National Heavyweight Wrestling Championship. While at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he finished fourth in the 275-pound weight class, where he earned All-American honors. Rulon then took his success to another level as he defeated Aleksandr Karelin at the 2000 Summer Olympics. At that time, Karelin had not been defeated for 13 years. Rulon began to soar after that victory. In 2001, he became a World Champion and the first American to win a World and Olympic gold title in Greco-Roman wrestling. Even with an amputated toe and dislocated wrist, Rulon still won the U.S. Olympic trials for his weight class, which led him to be able to compete in the 2004 Summer Olympics.  After playing, he went on to be an analyst for NBC Sports. He now teaches and instructs high school athletes and has become a distinguished speaker on the national level.  He strives daily to impact the lives of his team members.   

Join us as we marvel at his resiliency and determination to succeed. Through his perseverance and ability to focus on the positives, he has laid the groundwork for coaches, athletes, and fans to reach their goals and gain insight from his experiences. Listen in as he explains how positive affirmation builds confidence. His belief in heart, devotion, perspective, technique, and belief in yourself are the things you can’t measure that are critical to success.