ASICS has renewed a multi-year endorsement deal with 2000 Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling gold medalist Rulon Gardner. The Afton, Wyoming native will endorse ASICS footwear, apparel, and accessories and first became a member of ASICS Wrestling Advisory Staff in 2001.
Gardner made Olympic history in Sydney when he defeated Russian Alexander Karelin, who had not been scored upon in ten years. Upon his return from the Olympics, Gardner became an overnight sensation. He was featured in magazines, newspapers and television talk shows across the country.
In February 2002, Gardner nearly died when he got separated from one of his friends while snowmobiling in the Wyoming backcountry. He braved 18 hours in minus-25 degree temperatures before being rescued and airlifted to a local hospital. He suffered severe frostbite and ultimately lost his middle toe on his right foot.
The 32-year old Gardner began a grueling comeback in the Fall of 2002, and finally reached the top of the wrestling world when he defeated the defending US and World Champion Dremiel Byers at the 2003 US World Team Trials in Indianapolis. Gardner went on to finish second at the 2003 Pan-American Games.
Gardner will continue his comeback at the US National Championships in Las Vegas on April 8th. The top 8 wrestlers in each weight class from the US Championships will qualify to compete in the US Olympic Team Trials in Indianapolis on May 21-23.