Favorite Olympic Moments: Rulon Gardner Takes Gold in Sydney

April 21, 2012; Iowa City, IA, USA; Rulon Gardner speaks to the media at a press conference after not making weight for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials at Carver Hawkeye Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-US PRESSWIRE

The London Olympics are nearly upon us. Every four years amazing memories are created by athletes who overcome tremendous odds and complete unbelievable journeys. Names that you never knew become legends overnight.

Let's take a look back at one of those truly unforgettable moments.

The year: 2000

The place: Sydney, Australia

Even though the Cold War was over and the USSR had crumbled there will always be an intense rivalry between the United States and Russia. One of the most reveled athletes in Russian history is Greco-Roman wrestler Alexsandr Karelin. He is also considered to be the greatest wrestlers of all time.

Karelin won gold medals at the 1988 Seoul, 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He also has nine World Championships to his name. He hadn't had a point scored against him in six years. Standing 6-3 286lbs he was an intimidating figure that was pure muscle. He is gunning to become the first Olympic wrestler to win four gold medals.

His famous move was the "Karelin Lift" where he hoists his opponent in the air and throws him violently to the mat. When executed correctly he earns five points per throw.

Enter Rulon Gardner an American who grew up working on his families dairy farm in Afton, WY. Never won a medal in international competition but has performing well at these Olympics. This story has a David vs Goliath feel or maybe more like a Rocky vs Drago flavor.

Here are the first two rounds.

Gardner has managed a 1-0 lead over Karelin. Still the rules require them to go to overtime since neither wrestler has three points. Gardner continues his incredible defensive effort and keeps Karelin at bay.

Once the victory is complete the joy on Gardner's face is so memorable. His smile is infectious and his joy just radiates. He is even able to celebrate with a somersault as well. One of of those amazing reactions that happens in the moment and is seared in our brains forever.

Rulon Garnder is one of those athletes that shows us why the Olympics are so incredible,


Celebrate the most compelling moments in Summer Games history with 'Memorable Moments' on Yahoo! Sports. Re-live moments such as Nadia Comaneci's perfect 10s in Montreal, Michael Phelps' record eight gold medals in Beijing, Carl Lewis' unforgettable four gold medals in Los Angeles, the spectacular success of the 1992 US Dream Team, Muhammad Ali in Rome and Atlanta, and any more!

These special moments are showcased through exclusive video, iconic photos, and stories on Yahoo!'s hub dedicated to the coverage of the Games. Enjoy the unique storytelling from Yahoo! Sports' award-winning writers and experts, as well as through the lens of Yahoo!'s users themselves.

Check out Memorable Moments on Yahoo! Sports!

Trending Discussions

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Cowboy Altitude

You must be a member of Cowboy Altitude to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cowboy Altitude. You should read them.

Join Cowboy Altitude

You must be a member of Cowboy Altitude to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cowboy Altitude. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.