Website Crowns Rulon Gardner As Wyoming’s Greatest Athlete
Gardner is a native of Afton, Wyoming, and a graduate of Star Valley High School. After winning the NJCAA national heavyweight wrestling championship at Ricks College in Idaho, Gardner transferred to the University of Nebraska. He finished fourth in his weight class at the 1993 NCAA Wrestling Tournament and was named an All-American.
At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Austrailia, Gardner claimed the gold metal with an upset win over legendary Russian wrestler Aleksandr Karelin, who hadn't lost a match in 13 years.
Gardner added a World Championship to his resume in 2001, making him the only American to ever win a World and Olympic title. He also competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, taking home a bronze medal. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2010.