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Olympic and World champion Rulon Gardner, 51, registered for U.S. Open at 130 kg in Greco-Roman

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Rulon Gardner (USA)  competing in the 2004 Olympic Games
Rulon Gardner (USA) competing in the 2004 Olympic Games. USA Wrestling file photo.

2000 Olympic champion, 2001 World champion and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Rulon Gardner of the Rulon Gardner Gold Medal Gym has registered to compete at the U.S. Open in the Senior Greco-Roman tournament at 130 kg. Gardner, who lives in Erda, Utah, is currently 51 years old.

His registration was reported first by Five Point Move.

FivePointMove: Gardner back for Nationals, joins potent heavyweight field

Most recently, Gardner competed in an exhibition at Mead High School in Colorado in December of 2022 against former National Team member Jacob Mitchell.

Gardner, who is a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, announced a comeback bid for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City. Gardner, who attended the event, did not weigh in.

A native of Afton, Wyoming, Gardner was an All-American for the University of Nebraska before having one of the greatest Greco-Roman wrestling careers in U.S. history. On September 27, 2000, Gardner shocked the world with his victory in the Sydney Olympic Games finals over three-time Olympic champion Alexander Karelin, who had never lost an international match. He followed that up with a World title in 2001. After a serious snowmobile accident where he suffered frostbite and lost toes, Gardner returned at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece and won an Olympic bronze medal.