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Olympic Wrestling Champ Has Toe Amputated - 2002-03-29


Olympic wrestling champion Rulon Gardner has had his frostbite-damaged toe amputated, six weeks after he was stranded overnight in a remote area of Wyoming. Doctors at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls said they removed the middle toe from Gardner's right foot Thursday and are optimistic he will not lose any more toes. A local anesthetic was used and the 30-year-old Gardner remained awake for the operation, during which doctors also removed three pins that were placed in his left foot during a skin graft on March 19th. It is not known how the loss of the toe will affect Gardner's wrestling career. Gardner is the Greco-Roman world heavyweight champion. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he beat Alexander Karelin, the Russian star who had not lost an international match in 13 years. Gardner was stranded in the woods on February 14 when his snowmobile bogged down near his hometown of Afton. He spent 17 hours outside in temperatures that dipped to 32 degrees below zero Celsius. He was found with a body temperature of just 31 degrees Celsius and his feet frozen.

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