Why did Rulon Gardner quit the Biggest Loser?

wrestler Rulon Gardner quit Biggest Loser

Olympic Gold Medalist, Rulon Gardner walked off the NBC’s Biggest Loser this week, and everyone on the show acted surprised. Really? Seems like wanting to go home is pretty normal this season. Rulon is at least the fourth person in 11 weeks to try to go home; he just did it more baldly than anyone else.

First, there were the twins, Dan and Don Evans. Dan (not to be confused with Season 5 Dan Evans) went home in episode three after a 9 pound weekly weight gain. At that point in the season, players were weighing in with their partners from home; so his twin brother, Don Evans’, number mattered, too. And, Don also gained 9 lbs. Gained. Nine Pounds. Both of them.

This is classic game play on The Biggest Loser, despite Dan and Don’s insistence in interviews of their innocence. Both are senior law enforcement officers in their home town of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, so you can see why they’d want to protect their reputations; but, come on. 9 lbs? Each? Really?


Don Evans doesn’t even try to cover up for the intentional 6 pound weight gain in the following week that sent him packing. He was homesick. He had learned what he needed to learn. He was ready.
Then, there was Kaylee Kinkini who decided in Episode 12 that she was ready to go. She didn’t commit to it quite like the Evans brothers, though, so she pulled a zero and stayed on the ranch despite her desire to go home. Her maneuver seemed really to annoy host, Allison Sweeney, who gave her impassioned “this is not a prison” speech as a response to Ken Andrews’ claim that “There’s no way in this game, when somebody gets to a point that they say ‘my journey’s done here,’ and its time for me to go home—there’s no way for them to get out of this game—except to do what we tried to do.”


Whether she knew it or not, Allison seems to have opened the door for Rulon’s Episode 17 exit. All you have to do is say “I’m ready,” click the heels of your ruby slippers together three times, and there you are. Who knew?


So . . . the biggest question is: why is leaving the ranch more important to these people than winning $250,000? Rulon had a real chance to win and only a few more weeks to hang on. Have the trainers made their “this is not a game, it is your life” speech one too many times? Is there something going on off camera that we don’t know about?

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