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Former Olympian Rulon Gardner files for chapter 7 bankruptcy

Another athlete has filed for bankruptcy protection after falling behind on debt. Many Ohio residents may remember Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner from his performances in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics where Gardner won the gold and bronze medals, respectively, on the wrestling mat. Others may remember the wrestler from his appearance on NBC's "The Biggest Loser."

Gardner appeared on the reality show before the most recent Olympics were held in London. The former Olympian sought to lose weight, in part, to return to the Olympic stage. However, he did not weigh in his quest to make the Olympic team for the 2012 games.

Now the former Olympian seeks to lose unsecured debts that he and his wife owe. The athlete filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy with his wife in late August. That means he can receive a discharge of unsecured debt. In chapter 7, some property may be sold by the bankruptcy trustee to benefit creditors.

But the athlete and his wife say in their bankruptcy petition that they take in roughly $3,116 each month in combined income from a training center the couple operates in their home state. The chapter 7 bankruptcy petition reportedly lists nearly $3 million in unsecured debts that the couple is on the hook to pay from that income.

The largest unsecured debt reportedly involves a principle balance of roughly $2.8 million.

A bankruptcy auction is scheduled for late October, where the trustee will auction off a list of property that does not fall under the exemptions available under the bankruptcy laws and exemption laws in the Gardner's home state.

Among the items up for sale are a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a team ring from the Athens Olympics and a large collection of knives and watches. Sources say that the couple intends to surrender their home worth slightly more than $430,000 to the bankruptcy estate. The bankruptcy will discharge the couple's obligation on the home loan regardless of how much money is brought in on the sale of the home.

Source: The Des Moines Register, " Rulon Gardner, former wrestler, files for bankruptcy," USA Today, Sep. 19, 2012

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