Monday, February 26, 2007

Olympic Wrestler with 9-lives

Olympic Champion Survives Plane Crash
Wrestler Gardner, Two Others Rescued by Fisherman

SALT LAKE CITY (Feb. 25) - Olympic wrestling champion Rulon Gardner and two Utah men were rescued by a Lake Powell fisherman Sunday after surviving a small plane crash near Good Hope Bay the day before.

Gardner was a passenger in the Cirrus SR 22 along with pilot Randy Brooks and his brother Leslie Brooks, according to a news release from Becki Bronson, public information officer for Garfield County. The plane was flying low when it struck the water and all three men were able to get out of the plane before it sank.Authorities are uncertain of the exact location of the crash, but the three men swam for more than an hour in 44 degree water before reaching shore and then spent the night without shelter, according to the release. None suffered life-threatening injuries, authorities said."It takes only about 30 minutes for someone swimming in 44 degree water to start suffering the effects of hypothermia, so the fact that they swam in it for an hour, not to mention surviving the plane crash and the night without fire or shelter, is pretty amazing," said Steven Luckesen, a district ranger at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. "If these guys were a cat with nine lives, they just used up three of them."

[ Rulon Gardner at 2000 Olympic Games receives Gold medal defeating Russian Greco-Roman great Alexander Karelin]

Gardner and the Brooks called a relative to take them for medical attention in American Fork.The cause of the crash is still under investigation, Bronson said.Gardner pulled one of the most stunning upsets in Olympic history at the 2000 Games, winning the gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling by ending Alexander Karelin's 13-year international winning streak. In the 2004 games in Athens, Gardner won the bronze medal, and in wrestling tradition, left his shoes on the mat as a symbolic way of announcing his retirement.This is not the first time, he's survived a life-threatening accident. In 2002 he became stranded while snowmobiling in the Wyoming wilderness and lost one of his toes to frostbite, and in 2004 he was struck by an automobile while riding his motorcycle.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2007-02-25 22:20:12


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