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Rulon Gardner wants to make 2016 Olympic Team

Jun 8, 2014, 6:13 PM EDT

Rulon Gardner AP

Rulon Gardner has designs on making a third U.S. Olympic Team, 16 years after he won a shock Greco-Roman wrestling gold medal at the 2000 Olympics.

“I want to get back into it [wrestling],” Gardner told the Deseret News. “If it’s a perfect world, I’d like to be on the 2016 Olympic Team if everything works out.”

Gardner will be 44 years old at the 2016 Olympics. Nobody older than 44 has wrestled at the Olympics since 1988, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon.

In 2000, Gardner upset Russian super heavyweight Aleksander Karelin to win gold. He added bronze in 2004 and left his shoes on the mat in the symbolic display of retirement.

He attempted a comeback for the 2012 Olympics, shedding weight from a high of 474 pounds. But he opted not to weigh in for the Olympic Trials, where needed to be a maximum of 264.5 pounds. He said he had gotten within 15 pounds.

He’s gained about 100 pounds back, according to the Deseret News.

Correction: This article stated no wrestler older than 42 had competed at an Olympics since 1904, according to sports-reference.com. Mallon cited three Afghan wrestlers in 1988 who were listed as 45 years old.

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  1. sportsfan18 - Jun 8, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    I want to wish you the best of luck…

    Even if you don’t make it back, it will be a great way to get back into shape and lose much of the weight you need to and there is no downside to that.

    Also, Mr. Gardner, your upset of that Russia was one of the all time greatest upsets ever…

    The opponent you toppled ended up with 882 wins vs. only 2 losses in his entire career wrestling.

    From 1987 to 2000, the man you beat was UNDEFEATED in international competition.

    Karelin, the man you defeated, went 6 of those years that he was undefeated without losing a single point in any match.

    SIX YEARS without giving up a even one point in any match…

    And then you took him down, by a score of 1 point to zero…

    Just getting a point on him was tantamount to victory…

    Thanks for the memory Mr. Gardner and good luck in your current efforts sir.

  2. arabianprince77 - Jun 9, 2014 at 3:48 AM

    Well said

  3. mogogo1 - Jun 9, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    He seems like a fantastic guy. Always wondered why he’s never entered coaching. He’d be around the sport, would have the ability and motivation to stay in shape, and he’d certainly have things to share with the up and coming guys.

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