Life with Rulon February 27, 2007Posted by skinbad in Gardening.
Remember this cat? He won the gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling by beating the unbeatable Russian in 2000. If he gives you the choice of wrestling with him or hanging out with him for a weekend, I might take the wrestling.
He just survived a plane crash in Lake Powell, swam for an hour in 40 degree water and survived a night in the 20s in wet clothes. This is the latest.
• As a boy, he fell out of the back of a pickup moving 40 miles per hour and skidded across the road on his bare back.
• When he was 8 years old, he accidentally impaled his stomach on a hunting arrow.
• While Gardner was driving to Ricks College, his truck slid off an icy road, leaving him with scars that are still visible on his arms.
• In 2002, he spent 17 hours in the Wyoming backcountry after his snowmobile dropped into a hidden lake. He lost most of a middle toe to frostbite.
• Ten days before the 2004 U.S. wrestling championships, he T-boned a car with his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He catapulted through the air and performed a front somersault as he struck the ground, then popped to his feet. He had only minor injuries.
• Two days later, he dislocated his wrist in a pickup basketball game.
Then there was the time he cracked vertebrae in his neck when the great Russian wrestler Alexander Karelin dropped him on his head. But that wasn’t an accident.
Video of the gold medal match: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYO4YWgLcko
The same paper profiled him a few weeks ago. The fame came at a price.
The money and travels and celebrity have come with a steep price. He has been married and divorced three times, twice since winning the gold medal. He married while attending Ricks College, but the lifestyle and focus of a wrestler took its toll and they eventually divorced. His second marriage lasted four years (none of his marriages produced children), ending a year after the Sydney Games.
“People dream of something, but be careful what you dream for,” he says. “I didn’t dream this. I didn’t expect it. But when you travel 300 days a year, when you’re on the road that much and always gone and people want you to do stuff — I get three to four calls a day for charities — you have opportunities. After winning the gold, the stress took its toll. After I won, it changed everything. I went from my training and wrestling to nonstop traveling. In March of 2001, I was gone every day.”
As he says, be careful what you wish for.