Rulon Gardner ends comeback bid

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 12:41 PM

The Associated Press

CORALVILLE, Iowa -- Forty-year-old heavyweight Rulon Gardner has ended his comeback bid a day before the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Gardner didn’t show up to weigh in on Friday in Iowa City, ending his quest. Gardner said in a statement released by USA Wrestling that he was within five pounds of reaching the 264.5-pound limit for his weight class before falling short.

"I’m disappointed I didn’t make the weigh in. I worked hard," Gardner said. "I’m glad I did this and have my health back."

Gardner won the gold medal in Sydney in 2000 and bronze in Athens eight years ago, but he gained nearly 200 pounds after retiring from wrestling in 2004. A stint on the NBC reality show "The Biggest Loser" convinced him to give wrestling one final shot.

Gardner told The Associated Press two weeks ago that he was roughly 25 pounds heavier than he needed to be to qualify for the Olympic trials. He was always considered a longshot to get past Dremiel Byers in the 120 kilogram (264.6 pounds) class.

Gardner, who said his quest to make the Olympic team was always more about getting his life back on track, said he’ll provide further details on Saturday.

The trials will be held Saturday and Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

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