We learned last month that former Biggest Loser contestant and Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner was going to try to make the Olympic trials and compete in the 2019 Summer Olympics in London. While no controversy surrounds his two medals, one gold and one bronze in Greco Roman wrestling, it does surround his time on season 11, from which he voluntarily walked out. He was the first contestant in the show’s history to do so, although, rumors and questions surround his exit and NBC has never confirmed the real reason. In that night’s episode he said, “I ask to leave Biggest Loser for personal reasons.” Whatever the real reasons were, he left the show and went back to wrestling.
Rulon appeared on Brian Williams’ Rock Center tonight in a story highlighting the hard work it’s going to take for him to make it through the Olympic trials next month. At age 40, the once retired wrestler has to make weight like everyone else, but may find the challenge to be more daunting than it is for most of his competitors. He started season 11 at 474 pounds and in 16 weeks was able to lose 173 pounds. In the interview he said he averaged about 1.5 pounds lost per day while on the ranch, and with the right dedication, he can do the same in his wrestling gym and make weight on April 20. His coach said that Rulon is “working as hard as anyone else in the room.”
“The biggest challenge of my life is changing my nutrition and diet habits,” said Rulon. He seemingly got one of the most intensive courses in nutrition and diet while working with Cheryl Forberg, RD and the experts on Biggest Loser. Did he not take home those lessons? Or is he still struggling to make them stick? While it could certainly be both, he seemed to own the latter. “Am I still craving everything? Yeah,” he said. He admitted his biggest mistakes are made at night when he allows indulgences when he’s put in a solid workout that day.
Rulon says he’s not trying to earn a bid on the U.S. Olympic team to prove he’s an Olympic athlete, clearly he’s already done that twice over. His reasons are far more personal. “I want to prove I have my life back, I have my health back,” he said.
image via Sports Illustrated