Host City: Sydney, Australia
Venue(s): Sydney Exhibition Centre, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sydney, New South Wales
Date Started: September 25, 2000
Date Finished: September 27, 2000
Format: Round-robin pools, winner of each pool advanced to single-elimination tournament.
In 1 Samuel, Chapter 17, David, future king of Israel, faced Goliath, a monstrous Philistine warrior, but David showed that size and reputation does not always matter by defeating Goliath, hitting him in the forehead with a heavy stone thrown from his sling, knocking him to the ground and out. At Sydney Goliath was present in the person of [Aleksandr Karelin], Olympic champion in this class in 1998, 1992, and 1996, a 9-time World Champion, and a 12-time European Champion. Karelin had not been defeated since 1987 in any match. He was unscored upon in his preliminary matches and advanced to the final against the American David, [Rulon Gardner], who had lost to Karelin at the 1997 Worlds. The match was scoreless through the first period, but in the second period, Karelin lost a hand-grip and the judges awarded Gardner a point after reviewing the tape. That was all that was needed, as Gardner held on to win, 1-0, in what is considered the biggest upset in Olympic wrestling history.
Karelin retired after the Sydney Olympics and later entered politics. Gardner had a difficult time, almost dying once in the Wyoming winter wilderness in 2002 after he was stranded, and losing a toe to frostbite. He then almost died when a small plane in which he was flying crashed into frigid lake waters in Utah, and he and his companions were forced to swim for an hour to reach shore. Gardner would return to the 2004 Olympics and win a bronze medal. He later gained a lot of weight, and attempted to lose it to compete at the 2008 Olympics, but was unsuccessful. He did fight once in professional mixed martial arts.
|1||Rulon Gardner||29||United States||USA||Gold|
|9||David Vála||22||Czech Republic||CZE||4||5|