Dubuque, Iowa – Olympic Gold and Bronze Medalist in Greco-Roman Wrestling Rulon Gardner to speak at the University of Dubuque on Nov. 8 at 7:00 p.m. in McCormick Gymnasium. The event is free and open to the public. Olympian Gardner defeated three-time Gold Medalist Alexander Karelin of Russia in overtime at the 2000 Sydney Games to capture a gold medal. What makes this feat so extraordinary? Karelin had not lost in international competition in 13 years and had not been scored upon in 10 years.
Following his victory, Gardner was named the Sportsman of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee and also received the US Olympic Spirit Award. In 2001, he was given the James E. Sullivan Memorial Award for the nation's top amateur athlete who succeeds in athletic excellence, character, leadership, and sportsmanship. His accomplishments, along with his work ethic, make Gardner an inspiring sports speaker.
Gardner is author of the 2005 motivational autobiography Never Stop Pushing: My Life from a Wyoming Farm to the Olympic Medals Stand. The book chronicles his journey from an impoverished upbringing as one of nine children in a close-knit Mormon farming family to an Olympic champion. Gardner further solidified his status as a truly inspirational individual by reaching his competitive training weight as a contestant on season 11 of NBC's The Biggest Loser.
Offering valuable insights into the actual cost of peak performance, he guides audiences down his path to Olympic gold - and ultimately into American legend. In a presentation which highlights his experiences on the mat, Gardner teaches how persistence leads to success.
Gardner was born on August 16, 1971 in Afton, Wyoming. He is the youngest of nine children born to Reed and Virginia Gardner. Raised on a dairy farm where they grew their own crops and milked cows twice a day, there was never a shortage of work to be done. School did not come easy for Gardner. He struggled with reading speed and comprehension, but with the help and support of his family, Rulon was able to complete his schoolwork. He successfully completed high school, and gained a wrestling scholarship to attend Ricks College. From Ricks College, and received a Division I scholarship to wrestle for the University of Nebraska.
His wrestling career began when he was six years old. For one week every year, Star Valley would have a wrestling camp, which always concluded with a tournament on the weekend. Gardner participated in this from age six until junior high school. He began a regular wrestling season while in junior high and continued until he graduated from the University of Nebraska.
Graduating from the University of Nebraska with a degree in physical education is something he is very proud of. After graduating from the University of Nebraska, Gardner continued his Olympic wrestling pursuit with full-time dedication. Winning the Gold in Sydney did not come without dedication and sacrifice. He sacrificed much in order to reach his Olympic aspirations. Gardner has experienced wins as well as losses in his life and has never dwelled on the negatives, but instead takes each challenge and uses it as a means to improve his life.
Never Give Up, Never Stop Trying:
7 Steps to Success
#1. Go Back to the Basics
#2. Turn the Negatives into Positives
#3. Aim High When You're Feeling Low
#4. Enlist Others
#5. Train Hard
#6. Take Care of Business
#7. Don't Rest on Your Laurels