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In the 2000 Olympics, Rulon Gardner triumphed in what has become one of the most inspirational sports stories ever. The 29-year-old amateur wrestler from a Midwestern dairy farm took down Russian giant, Aleksander Karelin, the three-time defending Olympic champion who hadn’t lost an international match in fifteen years nor even given up one point in ten years.

Growing up with a learning disability and constant weight issues, Rulon was never the favorite for anything. According to the majority of adults in his life, he “wasn’t supposed to go to college, he wasn’t supposed to finish his degree, and he definitely wasn’t supposed to go to the Olympics.” However by working hard and always giving a minimum of 100%, Rulon did all that and more. The story of how a farm boy from Wyoming, who had never even won a national collegiate title, faced down the world’s most feared man has become Olympic legend.

Rulon has continued to face adversity head-on; in the past decade he’s survived a snowmobile accident, a plane crash, a motorcycle crash, and bankruptcy. Yet the likable and hard-working Rulon always picks himself back up onto his feet, seeing obstacles as opportunities rather than dead ends. Currently he divides his time between work, training, and speaking mainly to business audiences and schools.

Full Profile

Professional Wrestler, Olympic-History-Making Gold Medalist

As the youngest of 9 siblings, growing up on a farm, it’s no surprise that hard work and determination are core values in Rulon Gardner’s life. These proved to be particularly important as Rulon embraced numerous challenges in his life.

Rulon Gardner is no stranger to daunting circumstances. As a member of the 2000 US Olympic wrestling team, he was pitted against Russian legend Alexander Karelin, in what can only be described as a David versus Goliath scenario. Against harrowing odds, Rulon emerged victorious. In doing so, he immediately captured the admiration and sentiment of Americans, winning the gold medal in one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history.

Rulon has again captured the admiration and sentiment as he completes another chapter in his already inspiring and storied life. Gardner recently appeared as a contestant of the NBC television program The Biggest Loser, and is back in a familiar role, inspiring hope and personifying courage.

Rulon’s achievements on the program were nothing short of astonishing. After reaching his competitive training weight, Rulon chose to leave the show in support of his wife and to begin the next chapter of his life.

As a result of his newfound lease on life, Rulon is considering a comeback to competitive wrestling. He met with National Team coaches and has already been back on the mat at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO.

Rulon would be an astounding 40 years old at the London Games should he decide to return to competition. Nonetheless, his competitive vigor and will to succeed are as strong as ever.

The courage and determination that Rulon has shown in his pursuit of excellence further solidifies his status as a truly inspirational individual.


Rulon Gardner Speaker Videos Back to top

Rulon Gardner: Inducted into Greco-Roman Hall of Fame


Rulon Gardner speaks on turning negative moments into character building experiences. As a child he did not have the easiest life. The family barn burnt down leaving him to milk the cows in below freezing weather; he was often made fun of at school for his learning disability; and his teachers dissuades him from going to college because he’d “fail.”

Throughout all the negativity though, he had a caring family that instilled him with a high work ethic and impressive resilience. “I have a very strong core, a strong subconscious,” he comments explaining that this enabled him “to focus and continue to push everyday, not just in wrestling, but in life.”

Rulon Gardner: Interview for induction into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame


Rulon Gardner - Interview



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


Rulon Gardner hooks his entire audience from the moment he starts speaking. Highly likeable and down-to-earth, he shares fascinating stories about his childhood as an underdog; the extreme training sessions he underwent throughout his wrestling career; his historic Olympic match against Aleksander Karelin; and his incredible survival of two near-death experiences. Furthermore, Rulon breaks down the values that have kept him going through the best of times and the worst of times – basic principles that anyone can apply to their lives.

Seven Points To Success
Rulon shares personal experiences to illustrate how persistence leads to success:

    • Go Back To The Basics
    • Turn The Negatives Into Positives
    • Aim High When You're Feeling Low
    • Enlist Others
    • Train Hard
    • Take Care Of Business
    • Don't Rest On Your Laurels


Rulon Gardner Speaker Testimonials Back to top

"Rulon did an outstanding job! Not only was his speech great, but he stuck around for two hours to sign autographs. I would absolutely recommend him for another conference."
    American Skandia

"Rulon was a charmer. He is a very compelling speaker. He comes across as your all American hometown boy. We liked the tennis shoes. Another plus-he recites his presentation without ever going to the podium. His practice makes perfect. He was a hit."
    Mechanical Contractors of America

"Rulon was an outstanding success at our meeting in Cancun last week. He did a great job. He really played to the audience and they loved him. His warm, open personality and sense of humor were evident both on and off-stage. At the end of the interview, he posed with the attendees while everyone took pictures."
    International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)

"When do high schoolers listen to advice? When Rulon Gardner is the one giving it."
    Idaho State Journal

Clients include:

    • AT&T
    • Boy Scouts of America
    • Central Wyoming College
    • Colorado College
    • Colorado Rockies
    • Denver Stock Show
    • Diamond Nuts
    • ESPN Week (Branson)
    • Farm Bureau of Iowa
    • Future Farmers of America (National, Wyoming, and Montana)
    • 4-H (National)
    • Encana Pipeline
    • Great Harvest (MT)
    • Harley Davidson
    • High Schools (WY, TX, IN, UT, ID, CO, MT, OR, OH, PA)
    • Hilton Hotels
    • Indiana Sports Corporation
    • John Hancock
    • Kansas Life Insurance
    • Lathrop Equipment
    • LDS Church Groups (particularly youth)
    • Margaret Mercy Healthcare (IN)
    • Merck
    • Merial
    • Merrill Lynch
    • National Western Stock Show (CO)
    • Omaha Wellness Council
    • Pork Producers
    • Pro Video and Sound (CA)
    • Roche Pharmaceuticals
    • Rocky Mountain Nationals Wrestling Tournament
    • Salvation Army
    • Saxton-Pierce Restaurants (MS)
    • Simplot Games
    • Soy Producers
    • Special Olympics Colorado Hall of Fame Gala
    • Sports Illustrated Week (Yosemite)
    • State Games (UT, IA, VA, MT, NE, CO) State Games of America Spokesman
    • State Games of America (PSA)
    • Syngenta
    • Syngynite
    • Texas Beef Producers
    • USO Tours (MVP)
    • UVSU (Orem, UT)
    • Wal-Mart
    • Weber State University (Ogden, UT)
    • Western States Roofing Contractors Association
    • Westfalia Surge
    • Wisconsin Wrestling
    • Wyoming Business Alliance
    • Wyoming Team Nutrition (PSA)
    • Young Dairy Leaders Conference




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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"Rulon did an outstanding job! Not only was his speech great, but he stuck around for two hours to sign autographs. I would absolutely recommend him for another conference."
    American Skandia

"Rulon was a charmer. He is a very compelling speaker. He comes across as your all American hometown boy. We liked the tennis shoes. Another plus-he recites his presentation without ever going to the podium. His practice makes perfect. He was a hit."
    Mechanical Contractors of America

"Rulon was an outstanding success at our meeting in Cancun last week. He did a great job. He really played to the audience and they loved him. His warm, open personality and sense of humor were evident both on and off-stage. At the end of the interview, he posed with the attendees while everyone took pictures."
    International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)

"When do high schoolers listen to advice? When Rulon Gardner is the one giving it."
    Idaho State Journal

Clients include:

    • AT&T
    • Boy Scouts of America
    • Central Wyoming College
    • Colorado College
    • Colorado Rockies
    • Denver Stock Show
    • Diamond Nuts
    • ESPN Week (Branson)
    • Farm Bureau of Iowa
    • Future Farmers of America (National, Wyoming, and Montana)
    • 4-H (National)
    • Encana Pipeline
    • Great Harvest (MT)
    • Harley Davidson
    • High Schools (WY, TX, IN, UT, ID, CO, MT, OR, OH, PA)
    • Hilton Hotels
    • Indiana Sports Corporation
    • John Hancock
    • Kansas Life Insurance
    • Lathrop Equipment
    • LDS Church Groups (particularly youth)
    • Margaret Mercy Healthcare (IN)
    • Merck
    • Merial
    • Merrill Lynch
    • National Western Stock Show (CO)
    • Omaha Wellness Council
    • Pork Producers
    • Pro Video and Sound (CA)
    • Roche Pharmaceuticals
    • Rocky Mountain Nationals Wrestling Tournament
    • Salvation Army
    • Saxton-Pierce Restaurants (MS)
    • Simplot Games
    • Soy Producers
    • Special Olympics Colorado Hall of Fame Gala
    • Sports Illustrated Week (Yosemite)
    • State Games (UT, IA, VA, MT, NE, CO) State Games of America Spokesman
    • State Games of America (PSA)
    • Syngenta
    • Syngynite
    • Texas Beef Producers
    • USO Tours (MVP)
    • UVSU (Orem, UT)
    • Wal-Mart
    • Weber State University (Ogden, UT)
    • Western States Roofing Contractors Association
    • Westfalia Surge
    • Wisconsin Wrestling
    • Wyoming Business Alliance
    • Wyoming Team Nutrition (PSA)
    • Young Dairy Leaders Conference


never_stop_pushing

Never Stop Pushing: My Life from a Wyoming Farm to the Olympic Medals Stand
Never Stop Pushing is a motivational autobiography by Olympic Greco-Roman champion wrestler Rulon Gardner (Gold Medal, 2000; Bronze Medal, 2004).

This inspiring memoir comes from one of the world's most remarkable athletes who achieved arguably the greatest upset in individual sports history when he defeated the Russian Alexander Karelin—three-time Olympic champ, undefeated and unscored upon for a decade before his match with Gardner—in the 2000 Gold Medal match. Rulon Gardner tells the story of his impoverished upbringing as one of nine children in a close-knit Mormon family on a farm in Wyoming, where in performing unceasing chores he developed tremendous strength at an early age. Gardner writes about his struggles in school made arduous by learning disabilities that have challenged him his whole life. Also, after winning his Gold Medal, we read how this champion survived a snowmobile accident that marooned him outdoors for eighteen hours in high country. Rulon Gardner recovered from this and went on to defend his Gold Medal at Athens in 2004—yet another comeback from this athlete who was supposed to simply fade away.


Seven Points To Success
Rulon shares personal experiences to illustrate how persistence leads to success:

    • Go Back To The Basics
    • Turn The Negatives Into Positives
    • Aim High When You're Feeling Low
    • Enlist Others
    • Train Hard
    • Take Care Of Business
    • Don't Rest On Your Laurels


Rulon Gardner: Inducted into Greco-Roman Hall of Fame


Rulon Gardner speaks on turning negative moments into character building experiences. As a child he did not have the easiest life. The family barn burnt down leaving him to milk the cows in below freezing weather; he was often made fun of at school for his learning disability; and his teachers dissuades him from going to college because he’d “fail.”

Throughout all the negativity though, he had a caring family that instilled him with a high work ethic and impressive resilience. “I have a very strong core, a strong subconscious,” he comments explaining that this enabled him “to focus and continue to push everyday, not just in wrestling, but in life.”

Rulon Gardner: Interview for induction into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame


Rulon Gardner - Interview