The Miracle on the Mat


Rulon Gardner always comes to mind whenever the summer games roll around. He pulled off one of the greatest upsets in sports history, not just Olympic history. He was the American wrestler that shocked the world when he defeated the Russian wrestler Alexander Karelin who was undefeated in 13 years of international competition. The Russian General was going for an unprecedented 4th straight Olympic gold medal when the farm boy beat him 1-0 and made history.

It became known as the miracle of the mat and the announcers compared it to the shocking miracle on ice from the 1980 Olympic games when the US hockey team also shocked the world by upsetting the powerful Russian team. So many similarities, exactly 20 years apart. I’ll never forget this story. Nor will anyone else ever. Here’s video footage of the match.

Good review of the match

Rulon shares memories of his match here

Here’s the farm boy on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno