Athletes are seen as symbols of health, fitness, and immortality in American society. They are what everyone wants to be physically. Kids pretend to be their favorite athlete when playing in the front yard.
Rulon Gardner was one of those role models in 2000 and 2004, competing for the United States in Greco-Roman wrestling at the Olympic Games. He won two medals, a bronze and the coveted, immortalized gold medal in 2000. Despite his already large, muscular stature, Gardner was larger than life.
After his Olympic career ended, Gardner became a wrestling coach and opened up a gym to pass on the championship knowledge he obtained. But he also stepped away from wrestling, and that included leaving behind his strict training regimen. Rulon tried MMA and fought in Pride for a short while, but before long he stopped competing altogether. Gardner stopped working out yet he continued to eat the high calorie meals he was used to consuming during his wrestling days.
Before long, Gardner found himself at a crossroads when he was inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame. He needed a custom-made tuxedo because of his size.
One night while eating a with his wife, he saw himself on TV couldn’t believe it was him. At that time he knew something had to be done.
Where can you find Rulon Gardner now? You can find him at the Biggest Loser Ranch. Gardner, and friend Justin Pope, are contestants on this season’s show. Gardner weighed in at 474 pounds, almost 200 pounds more than he weighed at the Olympics just six years ago. Gardner says that once his weight became a serious issue and threatened his marriage, he had to do something. So he contacted The Biggest Loser and worked his way onto the show. Gardner is using the opportunity not only to tackle his own issues with weight loss, but also to demonstrate to others that Olympic champions need to work just as hard as everyday people to remain healthy.
While Gardner is attempting to get his life back on track and regain his health, he is inspiring an entirely new American audience. He’s able to use his Olympic fame to help inspire Americans to battle one of the most prevalent problems in this country — obesity. Gardner could have kept sitting on his couch and faded away, leaving only his legacy as an Olympic champion behind. But he is taking the American principle of second chances, and is changing his life for the better and inspiring thousands to do the same.Google+