U.S. Wrestling Legend Pursuing Olympic Comeback at 51 Years Old


Rulon Gardner shocked the wrestling world at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney when he defeated the most dominant wrestler in history, Alexandre Kareline. But what he’s attempting now could be his biggest upset yet.

Gardner, now a 51-year-old, wants to compete again at the 2024 Summer Olympics.

“I still wanna give more back to the sport, the sport that I love and that’s wrestling,” Gardner told TMZ Sports. “When you have a goal like wrestling it makes you get into shape so I’ve lost a substantial amount of weight, getting healthy again, getting back after it, and now it’s getting on the mat.”Every day it hurts like heck but it’s so fun to be able to get out there and throw with these young kids. It’s crazy ’cause I’m wrestling kids half my age.”

Sydney Olympics: Greco roman wrestling in Sydney, Australia on September 27, 2000 - 97 to 130 kg, final: Rulon Gardner , gold medal Alexandre...

Sydney Olympics: Greco roman wrestling in Sydney, Australia on September 27, 2000 – 97 to 130 kg, final: Rulon Gardner (USA), gold medal Alexandre Kareline (urs). (Pool JO SYDNEY 2000/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

To put some perspective on how shocking and incredible Gardner’s victory over Karelin was, get a load of this. Alexandre “The Russian Bear” Kareline had won three gold medals in a row, had not been defeated in 12 years, and hadn’t yielded a point to an opponent in six years.

That’s generally regarded as good.

And Gardner believes he still is very good. As in good enough to compete in an Olympic competition. But first, Gardner has to transform his body completely. The legendary American wrestler tells TMZ he’s already lost 150 pounds and plans to lose more.

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