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Rulon Gardner
Utah

Photo of RULON GARDNER

The youngest of nine children, Rulon Gardner was born to Reed and Virginia Gardner on August 16, 1971. Raised on the family's dairy farm, Rulon learned a strong work ethic and developed tremendous strength from his daily chores on the farm.

Rulon's wrestling career began when he was six years old. For one week every year, Star Valley would hold a wrestling camp, which always concluded with a tournament on the weekend. Rulon participated in this camp until he was 12 years old. He began a regular wrestling season while in junior high and continued with the wrestling seasons until he graduated from the University of Nebraska. After earning his degree in physical education from Nebraska, Rulon continued his Olympic wrestling pursuit with full-time dedication.

The work ethic Rulon learned from his upbringing would serve him well in his quest for Olympic gold. At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, this Greco-Roman wrestler became a true American hero and a household name when he defeated Russia's legendary Alexander Karelin, in what came to be known as the "Miracle on the Mat." After a near-death experience resulting from a snowmobile accident and the subsequent loss of a toe to amputation in 2002, Rulon returned to the mat to win a Bronze Medal in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

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Rulon was named to The Sporting News "Top 100 Most Powerful" list in sports (2000) and was selected by his peers to be the USA Flag Bearer at the closing ceremonies of the Sydney Olympic Games. He is also a member of the Ricks College Athletic Hall of Fame (2001) and was named the Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame "Athlete of the Year" (2001).

While Rulon has experienced wins as well as losses in his life, he has never dwelled on the negatives in his life, instead he takes each challenge and uses it as a means to improve his life.

  • Never Give Up, Never Stop Trying: Seven Points To Success - Rulon shares personal experiences to illustrate how persistence leads to success through seven key points:
    • Go Back To The Basics
    • Turn The Negatives Into Positives
    • Aim High When You're Feeling Low
    • Enlist Others
    • Train Hard
    • Take Care Of Business
    • Don't Rest On Your Laurels
Never Stop Pushing
Never Stop Pushing: My Life from a Wyoming Farm to the Olympic Medals Stand

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