474 pound Rulon Gardner to appear on The Biggest Loser 11

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rulon Gardner, the former Olympian wrestler, and one time Pride fighter, will appear in the next season of “The Biggest Loser.” Gardner and friend Justin Pope, who co-own Rulon Gardner Elite Training Center, will attempt to lose weight together.

In the show, which just finished its 10th season Tuesday, contestants fight to lose the most weight.

“I’m excited to see how far he can go, and cheer him on,” said Kamie Gardner, his wife. “A friend talked to him about it, and an NBC representative contacted him and asked him if he wanted to do it, and he said he did.”

Gardner won the gold medal for the United States in Greco-Roman wrestling in 2000, upsetting Russian Alexander Karelin. He also won a bronze medal in 2004. He also owns a win over Hidehiko Yoshida in Japan’s PRIDE FC.

“The day that I won the bronze medal in the Olympics, I thought, ‘You’ll never step on a scale again, live life and enjoy, take a year or two years off,'” Rulon said in a promotional video, explaining his appearance on the show. “I allowed myself to really lose track of what I was doing and finally got to a point where I couldn’t look in the mirror.”

The 11th season of “The Biggest Loser” premieres Jan. 4.

The Biggest Loser 2011

Rulon Gardner

Hometown:  Logan, Utah
Occupation: Gym owner and motivational speaker

Olympic athlete Rulon Gardner was born and raised in Afton, Wyo., the youngest of ten children.  He was overweight growing up but still in good shape from wrestling and playing football.  He graduated from Nebraska University with a degree in physical education and went on to become an Olympic athlete, winning the gold medal for wrestling in the 2000 Olympics, and the bronze medal in 2004.  Rulon says he gained the weight when he continued to eat like an Olympic athlete after he stopped training for the Olympic team. He knew he had to change his life when he tried to weigh himself and his 435 lb. scale would not register his weight.  Being diagnosed with sleep apnea and high blood pressure made it even more imperative that he lose weight.  Now 39 years old, 474 lbs. and married, Rulon looks forward to starting a family with his wife and getting into his jeep without straining after he’s lost the weight. He was inspired by season nine winner Michael Ventrella because he made the commitment to get the weight off, despite being the show’s heaviest contestant ever.

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