Rulon Gardner Won’t Die
Rulon Gardner Won’t Die tells the story of Rulon Gardner, the youngest of nine children from a Wyoming farming family, who twenty years ago shocked the world at the Olympic Games in Sydney and became an American icon overnight. Gardner, a newcomer to the world’s stage, did the unthinkable and beat the unbeatable – taking home gold when he beat the world’s most dominant wrestler and three-time reigning Olympic champion, Aleksandr Karelin of Russia.
Instant fame came after the “miracle on the mat,” which was followed by tragedy and adversity including near-death experiences, crushing weight gain and bankruptcy. Now, he’s returned to wrestling as a high school coach and is trying to make sense of his legacy – both as an American icon and a cautionary tale for what can come after a miracle.
Told in the first person by Gardner and directed by Adam Irving, Rulon Gardner Won’t Die features never-before-seen video, exclusive International Olympic Committee (IOC) archive footage and insightful interviews with wrestlers Karelin and former world champion Dremiel Byers, and Gardner’s coach and 1984 Olympic gold medallist Steve Fraser. Additional commentary includes media personalities who have covered Gardner’s Olympic career and rise to stardom including Bob Costas, Katie Couric, Phil Hersh, Jim Lampley and Joe Posnanski.