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NBC Rock Center airs Gardner feature

NBC’s prime time show Rock Center with Brian Williams aired a feature on the comeback story of Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling champion Rulon Gardner on Wednesday night, March 21. In late February, a crew from the Rock Center visited the U.S. Olympic Training Center to film most of the video for the feature on the two-time Olympic Greco- Roman medalist.

Internationally respected broadcast journalist Harry Smith and his crew spent two days with Gardner and Greco-Roman Team USA to research this piece. Smith conducted extensive interviews with Gardner about his wrestling achieve- ments, his near-death accidents, his chal- lenges with weight, and appearing on the Biggest Loser show. They also talked about Gardner’s wrestling comeback at age 40.

The NBC crew followed Gardner in his daily workout routines, both on the mat and in the weight training room. They also interviewed a number of other people, including coaches, athletes, family and friends, as part of the research for the show.

Among those interviewed were Gardner’s wife Camie, his oldest sister Geri, National Greco-Roman coaches Steve Fraser and Momir Petkovic and many others. Harry Smith’s full report, “The Heavyweight,” was an expansive review of Gardner’s personal journey since he retired from wrestling after winning an Olympic bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The report had considerable footage of

Rulon Gardner talks with veteran broadcaster Harry Smith at the Olympic Training Center. Cory Kness photo.

Gardner in training, in addition to the archived NBC footage from Gardner’s gold medal victory at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Austraila as well as when Gardner left his shoes on the mat in retirement at the Athens Games. Gardner is expected to enter the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City, Iowa. He must make the 264.5 pound weight limit, something he has not done since winning his Olympic medal in Athens.

He competed at the Kiki Cup in January, a friendly dual meet event where he won three international bouts.

One of television’s most distinguished journalists, Harry Smith has been a news anchor for more than 30 years. Before joining NBC News, he hosted the CBS News morning shows The Early Show and its predecessor CBS This Morning for 17 years.

For those who have missed the excel- lent segment, Rock Center has placed the full feature on its website which is: In addition, Rock Center did a number of other video features from the inter- views conducted, which also appear on the website.

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