Olympics: Wrestling

Watch: 'The Flying Squirrel'

August, 2, 2011
8/02/11
1:06
PM ET

Ellis Coleman talks about completing "The Flying Squirrel" during Greco-Roman Junior World Championships:

Wrestling champ Cejudo splits with coach

July, 27, 2011
7/27/11
11:50
AM ET
NEW YORK -- Olympic wrestling champ Henry Cejudo has found his motivation for 2012: He wants his mother to see him win gold this time.

But Cejudo won't be preparing for the London Games with Terry Brands, who was USA Wrestling's national freestyle resident coach in Colorado Springs, Colo., when Cejudo was training for Beijing. Cejudo had planned to move to Iowa to reunite with Brands, but he said Tuesday that the two clashed over the star wrestler's many sponsor commitments.

Cejudo is splitting time between Colorado Springs with U.S. national freestyle coach Zeke Jones and his hometown of Phoenix with his trainer, former Washington Redskins defensive back Brian Davis.

At 21, Cejudo became the youngest American to capture an Olympic wrestling gold medal when he won the freestyle 55-kilogram division in 2008, but his mother was unable to travel to Beijing.

With so many folks hitting the treadmills and elliptical machines this week, energized by New Year's resolutions, it seems only fitting to start 2011 with a dieting tale of Olympic proportions.

It's been more than 10 years since Rulon Gardner did a surprisingly agile cartwheel to celebrate his stunning victory over Alexander Karelin in the Greco-Roman wrestling championship match at the Sydney Olympics. The former University of Nebraska All-American, who grew up milking cows on a Wyoming dairy farm, handed the Russian his first international defeat in 13 years.

In 2004, Gardner won a bronze medal in Athens and left his shoes in the middle of the mat in the wrestler's traditional farewell. He headed off to a career of motivational speaking and, apparently, reckless eating.

Gardner has survived a lot before and since then -- a childhood bow-and-arrow impaling; motorcycle and plane crashes; a snowmobile accident that led to frostbite and a partial toe amputation; and on a personal front, three divorces.

Now 39, Gardner may have seemed immortal, but his family and friends feared for his health as he ballooned to 474 pounds, 210 pounds over his fighting weight. He told the Salt Lake Tribune that his tipping point came in June as he sat in a hotel room chowing down on his second dinner of the night and watching a report on his induction into the U.S. Wrestling Hall of Fame.

"I said, 'Holy Cow, this is truly embarrassing,'" Gardner, who lives in Logan, Utah, told the newspaper in an interview published over the weekend.

Late last year, Gardner auditioned for and earned a slot on the NBC reality show "The Biggest Loser," where the winner takes home a $250,000 prize. The show's new season begins Tuesday. Gardner is competing in tandem with his longtime friend Justin Pope, a health club owner and former schoolboy rival.

"Ultimately, it's about taking some responsibility and not making excuses like I've made the last six years,'' Gardner told the Salt Lake Tribune.

How many of us can relate to that? Good luck, and lighten up.

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