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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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