Rulon Gardner‘s Olympic gold medal was miraculous. What came after was no less extraordinary.
“Rulon Gardner Won’t Die,” which premieres on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app on June 3, chronicles the life of a Wyoming dairy farm boy who recorded the greatest upset in wrestling history at the 2000 Sydney Games.
Plus, the following 20 years, which included:
*In February 2002, driving a snowmobile off a hidden snow shelf into a frozen lake, getting stranded overnight in the wilderness for 17 hours in temperatures that were as low as 25 degrees below zero. The middle toe on his right foot had to be amputated due to frostbite.
*In February 2007, surviving a plane crash into a bay by swimming more than an hour in 44-degree water and spending the night without shelter.
*In 2010, going on “The Biggest Loser” at 474 pounds in a bid to lose more than 200 pounds to make weight for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials at age 40. He reportedly said he got down to 280, missing the Olympic heavyweight limit of 264.5.
*In 2012, filing for bankruptcy and losing his Olympic gold and bronze medals as a result.
Gardner pulled off the “Miracle on the Mat” in Sydney, handing chiseled Russian Aleksandr Karelin his first loss in 13 years. At last check, he was named head wrestling coach at Herriman High School in Utah in 2018.
“Rulon Gardner Won’t Die” is 88 minutes, narrated by Gardner and interviews Karelin, among others.
It’s part of the Olympic Channel’s signature Five Rings Films documentary series. Previous docs featured the 1998 Czech Republic Olympic men’s hockey team and Argentina’s Golden Generation of men’s basketball players.
The film is directed by Adam Irving and produced by Frank Marshall, who serves as executive producer alongside Mike Tollin, whose recent credits include “The Last Dance.”
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Rulon Gardner, from Olympic miracle to rock bottom, now a film subject originally appeared on NBCSports.com