Rulon Gardner files for bankruptcy

Leave a comment

There were days when Greco-Roman wrestling champ Rulon Gardner seemed like a modern day superhero; or at least something akin to Bruce Willis’ character from ‘Unbreakable.’

His feat of famously beating Aleksandr Karelin – a Russian who hadn’t lost in 13 years or given up a point in six years – to win gold in Sydney seems downright small when you consider that he survived a snowmobile accident and a night stranded in the wilderness, a terrible motorcycle accident, and even a plane crash that caused him and his friends to swim to safety and bear a night wet and without shelter in the Utah cold.

But for all his struggles against wrestlers, weight, and the wilderness, the famed Gardner has been unable to capitalize on his publicity. Gardner filed for bankruptcy last month after somehow piling up nearly $3 million in debt on a household income of only $37,932, according to the Associated Press.

“I got taken advantage of, and now I’ve got to pay the price,” Gardner said. “I’m trying to make it right.”

Gardner has made some poor business decisions, but says he’s the victim of investment fraud. He’ll offer his story in a deposition scheduled for Oct. 10. Then in November he’ll auction off his most valuable belongings, including a Porsche, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, some knives, watches, autographs and memorabilia.

We can’t imagine these items will chase any more than face value, though. His appearances on NBC’s ‘The Biggest Loser’ and his nearly successful attempt at a comeback at the 2012 Olympic Trials seem like his way of trying to recapture success by using his one proven talent, wrestling, which has of course declined since his first retirement in 2004.

Unfortunately for Gardner, he’s no longer a superhero. We’ve seen him break, and for as much pride as his victory and subsequent cartwheel brought Americans in 2000, the novelty of his celebrity wore off a long time ago. At least we’ll always have Sydney.

Yuzuru Hanyu sets short program record; Wagner in medal territory at NHK Trophy

Yuzuru Hanyu
Leave a comment

Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu set the new short program world record – raising his own world record by about five points from when he set it in Sochi – to lead the men’s field at the NHK Trophy in Nagano, Japan.

The 20-year-old landed two clean quads, one in combination, and a triple Axel in front of a home crowd. In his other Grand Prix appearance, two of those three jumps received zero points.

China’s Jin Boyang and Hanyu’s countryman Takahito Mura sit in second and third place, respectively, though Hanyu has built a 10-point lead heading into tonight’s free program. Jin landed two quads and a triple Axel cleanly, a program that surely would lead in any other field, while Mura was clean, too.

By holding off the competition, which seems likely, Hanyu can clinch a berth into the Grand Prix Final, where he is reigning champion.

Richard Dornbush and Grant Hochstein are the only U.S. men in the competition, as Jason Brown withdrew due to a back sprain. Dornbush is seventh and Hochstein is eighth before tonight’s free program.

2015 Worlds silver medalist Satoko Miyahara of Japan leads the ladies’ field after the short program over the other Japanese skater highlighting the field, Mao Asada (currently fourth), and two of the U.S.’ skaters. Courtney Hicks is second while Ashley Wagner is third. Vancouver Olympian Mirai Nagasu is fifth.

Miyahara landed three triples in her short program, compared to Hicks and Wagner, who both turned out of their planned triple-triple combinations. Nagasu was relatively clean in her short program. Asada fell on her signature triple Axel attempt and singled her planned triple Lutz.

Asada made her return to competition this season after winning the 2014 World title but skipping the subsequent season. Both Asada and Wagner can clinch berths to the Grand Prix Final by winning medals of any color in tonight’s free program. More on that process here.

It seems it is impossible to discuss figure skating results without mentioning the Russian dominance in the ladies’ field; however, in the short program, their competitors sat a lackluster seventh, ninth, and 11th in a field of 11. Russia’s Maria Artemieva, Alena Leonova and Anna Pogorilaya each had at least one fall in their short programs.

Canadian pairs team Meaghan Duhamel and Eric Radford are in the hunt for their ninth straight international win and a Grand Prix Final berth – a feat made a lot easier after the withdrawl of Olympic pairs champs Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov of Russia. The Canadian pair leads over Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim of the United States, currently second, also looking for a berth with a medal in Japan.

Men’s free skate — Saturday, 2:30 a.m. ET (start order here)
Women’s free skate — Saturday, 5:35 a.m. ET (start order here)

Russia vows to follow all WADA recommendations on doping

Russia Olympic Committee
Leave a comment

MOSCOW (AP) Russia says it will follow any recommendations from the World Anti-Doping Agency to clean up its own troubled drug-testing body.

A WADA commission’s report this month accused the Russian anti-doping agency, RUSADA, of covering up failed drug tests by top athletes. RUSADA was suspended by WADA following the report’s publication.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko met WADA director general David Howman in Germany on Thursday.

According to an account of the meeting posted by the ministry, Mutko said Russia would “follow all recommendations from WADA aimed at the necessary transformations in the activities and structure of RUSADA.”

The ministry also quoted Howman as saying he welcomed Mutko’s assurances “with pleasure.”

Russia’s track and field team was also suspended this month by the IAAF and could miss next year’s Olympics in Brazil.

MORE: Ashton Eaton named male IAAF Athlete of the Year