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Classic Freak-Fight: Olympic Gold Medalist/’Biggest Loser’ Contestant Rulon Gardner vs. Hidehiko Yoshida

(Props: russinapanzer)

The 1980 Miracle on Ice still gets more recognition, but Rulon Gardner‘s legendary Greco-Roman triumph over Alexander Karelin at the 2000 Summer Olympics was just as unlikely. One of the most intimidating figures in sports history, Karelin had been undefeated for 13 years, and hadn’t even given up a point in six when he met Gardner in Sydney. The American managed to shake loose a point from the Russian Experiment while shutting down Karelin’s offense, and went home with a gold medal. It was just one of many brushes with death that the former farm-boy managed to survive.

Gardener retired from wrestling four years later after taking a bronze medal in Athens, but he wasn’t done competing. On New Year’s Eve 2004, Gardner competed in his first and only MMA match at PRIDE Shockwave 2004, where he won a unanimous decision against 1992 Judo gold-medalist (and PRIDE/Sengoku veteran) Hidehiko Yoshida. The second round of that fight is above. Gardner never competed in another MMA match.

Somehow, Rulon has managed to gain 200 pounds since then. That’s the bad news. The good news is, he can currently be seen as a contestant on the eleventh season of The Biggest Loser, which premiered last night on NBC. Hey, if it worked for Fat Gina Carano, why not an Olympic legend? After the jump: A video feature on the historic Gardner vs. Karelin match, and Gardner’s intro package from TBL

(When Rulon met Alexander…)

(Karelin is watching you.)

Cagepotato Comments

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MediocreThreat- January 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm
I thought that was Gina Carano for a minute
HipHopHieronymus- January 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm
@Both of RWR's comments, pure gold.
SKK BB- January 6, 2011 at 7:16 am
man, why is this wrestling vs. judo fight posted? i kept hoping something exciting would happen. that was a terribly boring fight. 6 minutes gone from my day.
AndyInflammatory- January 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm
Karelin looks like Josho Barnetto if JB had been allowed to continue his needle-happy ways unabated.
DARKHORSE06- January 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm
Rulon isn't fat, thats all backed up dick.
RwilsonR- January 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm
The really sad thing for Russia is that Alexander Karelin is the least scary individual in the picture.
RwilsonR- January 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm
Recognizing his own drab sweater, Karelin looks jealously towards Fedor thinking to himself, "Once I was favorite son of Russia, and had colorful sweater like this. This will be mine again."
Yazloz18- January 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm
I remember watching that when I was 10 and thinking, wow this guy is good, and if I'm not mistaken Karelin was sort of a dick after the match.
nickyroose- January 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm
Also the point he shook loose was a technical point awarded when Karelin did not release his hands in time. Not exactly epic, but man the fucker hadn't given up even that in 6 years against the best in the world.
nickyroose- January 5, 2011 at 3:49 pm
Rulon Gardner pulled the biggest upset in sports history bar none. Fuck the miracle on Ice. Fuck Tyson-Douglas. Rulon Gardner beat the world's most dominate athlete, period.

Now he will dominate those other fatties!
Waxedpants- January 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm
holy shit that karelin photo is going to give me nightmares
Almost North- January 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm
Epic Karelin photo
Maine Blazer- January 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm
It puts the lotion in the basket...

seriously creepy
Fried Taco- January 5, 2011 at 2:20 pm
Rulon is going to destroy those other BL fatties!! He's going to eat their lunches!