Yes, Rulon Gardner still has his amputated toe in a jar. And yes, it’s still in his fridge at home.
The iconic Greco-Roman wrestling competitor who won Olympic gold and bronze medals before retiring in 2004, is attempting a world-stage comeback at age 40.
Gardner, who gained cross-over fame by competing on the hit reality show “The Biggest Loser,” is on a calorie-crushing crusade to ultimately lose more than 210 pounds in time for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials April 21-22 in Iowa City, Iowa.
As Gardner prepared for the Athens Olympics in 2004, he told the Des Moines Register that he kept a toe amputated from his right after becoming stranded overnight in 2002 on a snowmobile in the Wyoming wilderness.
The temperature-controlled symbol of sensibility and survival on a 25-below-zero night still lingers as he charges toward a possible bid to this summer’s London Olympics.
“Yeah, it’s still in the fridge back home,” Gardner, who’s at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., told the Register this week in reference to his home in Logan, Utah.
“It’s a gentle reminder of my stupidity. It reminds me of the decisions I make. My original goal was to bury it with one of my dogs.”
And to clarify: It’s in the fridge, rather than the freezer?
“Yep — the fridge,” he said. “It was already frozen once, so it doesn’t need frozen again. This just keep the reminder cold.”