It’s no surprise that our favorite Olympic athletes have made an impact on our lives. We sit and wait for those two weeks every two years, when the whole worlds’ eyes are on sports and who will win the most medals, who will surprise us?
Two decades ago, if someone told you a teenager by the name of Michael Phelps will go on to become the most decorated Olympian in history, with 23 gold medals, would you have believed him or her? Or that Shawn Johnson would only compete in a single Olympics before she was forced to retire? And what do you mean Nastia Liukin won’t make the 2012 Russian gymnastics team?
We’re constantly on our toes waiting to see what will happen in the next Olympics, ready to cheer on our national heroes. During those two weeks every two years, we follow our top Olympic athletes, just like we follow Serena Williams or LeBron James every year during their respective seasons (and, of course, during the Olympics too).
But when the flame goes out, many Olympic athletes tend to fade into the sports background, only to burst right back out on the scene four years later to our delight. Some have taken on larger roles as spokespeople, reality TV stars or even competed on Dancing with the Stars (we’re looking at you Simone Biles). Others have wandered down another path, choosing another career outside of the sports world, while a few have stuck to their sport in one way or another. So what exactly have they been doing as of late? We decided to check it out for ourselves and catch up with the world’s top athletes from over the years.
Kerri Strug became the Olympian hero of the Women’s All-Around Gymnastics Event at the 1996 Atlanta Games. She was a key performer in the famous “Magnificent Seven” and sacrificed a chance to compete in the Individual All-Around to win the gold with the rest of her teammates. Strugg landed the vault routine in the final rounds of the competition while sustaining an ankle injury. The “Magnificent Seven’s” coach, Béla Károlyi, carried Kerri from the podium after she stuck her landing, taking the top honor to bestow upon her team. Kerri Strug’s sacrifice resulted in the grand success achieved by one of her teammates…
Dominique Moceanu stepped in and took the place of Kerri Strug as she performed in the 1996 Women’s Individual All-Around. Dominique was the youngest Olympian athlete to legally compete at the age of 14 and was rewarded with a gold medal. 4 years later, in 2000, the young gymnast decided to retire from the sport after sustaining multiple injuries throughout her career. Domonique worked as an athletic coach while she studied to receive a degree in Business Management and wrote an autobiography entitled “Off Balance” that described the pros and cons of being a gymnastics starlet during her tender teenage years.
Summer Sanders is game show icon to the kids of the 90’s generation. However, before she was a Nickelodeon top biller, she was an Olympic athlete who won 4 gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Afterward, she became a sports commentator on NBC and worked interviews for future Olympic Games. It was then that she became the first female television game host on Figure Out from 1997 until 1999. Summer has been married to Erik Schlopy, a World Cup Skier and fellow Olympian athlete, since 2005. They have 2 children together.
Shawn Johnson’s parents enrolled her in gymnastics at the age of three. Liang Chow, her instructor saw her great potential and encouraged her to train until she could compete in the 2008 Olympics, in which she won four medals in Beijing, China. She took a gold medal on the women’s balance beam, and three silver for women’s gymnastics team. In 2010, she was planning on winning more Olympic medals, but she tore her ACL while skiing and had to retire from competitive gymnastics.
Alicia Sacramone began gymnastics at eight years old. She started competitively not long after. She won 12 medals between 2004-2008 in the U.S National Championships. At the age of 20 she competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and was part of the U.S Olympic women’s team who won the silver medal. In 2012, she made it into the Visa national Championships but was not qualified to continue onto the Olympic Team. And since then she became a CoverGirl spokesmodel.
Nastia Liukin was born in Moscow, Russia and moved to the United States when she was two years old. Both of her parents were also champion gymnasts. Her father was a Olympian and her brother was a champion rhythmic gymnast. She was the world champion of the balance beam in 2005 and 2007 and by 2008 she competed in the Summer Olympics in Beijing. She won three silver medals, a bronze medal, as well as a gold medal. She retired in 2012 after she did not make the Olympic team.
A true competitor at heart, Edwin Moses tackled one of the most difficult challenges any Olympian dreams of conquering; the track star won 2 gold medals for the Hurdles event. Between the years 1977 and 1987, Moses won 107 consecutive finals and set 4 world records for time completion. He retired in the early 2000’s and was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1994. In 2009, Edwin was presented with an honorary doctorate in Olympic Sports Integrity from the University of Massachusetts. Currently, he enjoys competitive bobsledding.
Sir Chris Hoy
Sir Chris Hoy is a 6-time Olympic Champion who represented Great Britain during his cyclist career. He has won a total of 6 gold medals; 3 in the Summer 2008 Games, 2 at the London 2012 Games, and 1 at the 2000 Sydney Games. Hoy is the most decorated Olympic Cyclist of all time and is Scotland’s most successful Olympic athlete. After an impressive athletic career, Hoy retired after competing in London in 2012 and decided to try his hand at race car driving.In 2013, Hoy accepted the position of Honorary Group Captain to the Royal Air Force Air Cadets.
Nadia Comăneci was one of the original gymnastics Olympians of her time. She’s a triple gold medal winner (9 medals total) and was the first female athlete to receive a perfect score in the Olympic Games. Nadia also holds 4 World Championship titles. In 2000, she was named one the greatest athletes of the 20th Century by the Laureus World Sports Academy and she is a representative of the International Olympics Committee. Today, she is married to fellow Olympian and gold medalist, Bart Conner.
Dominique Dawes was a member of the “Magnificent 7” and took home a gold medal after her team won the 1996 Women’s All-Around Gymnastics Event. Dawes in the first Olympic gymnast to have participated and medalled with three separate Olympic teams. Today, she works for the United States Government as a sports adviser and is close with McKayla Maroney. The two former gymnasts were commentators at the 2012 London Olympics and in the past, performed a synchronized swimming routine on Good Morning America.
Janet Beth Evans
Janet Beth Evans was an American Olympic swimmer who was known for her iconic, unconventional freestyle form. She won 4 gold medals during the course of her athletic career; 2 medals at the 1988 Olympics and 2 at the 1992 Olympics. Evans is a world-record holder for time and distance completion, as well as a world champion. Today, Evans belongs to a unique committee that is attempting to bring the Olympic Games back to the United States. She has been married since 2004 to her her husband, Bill Wilson and they live in Laguna Beach, California with their 2 children.
Peggy Fleming was the only Olympian athlete to win a gold medal for the United States in Women’s Figure Skating during the 1968 Winter Games. Fleming is also a 3-time World Champion, from the years 1986 until 1988. After the ’68 Games, Fleming returned to television to perform as a starring figure skating for popular ice shows. In 1970, she married her high school sweetheart and they have 2 adult sons and 3 grandchildren. For the past 20 years Peggy has worked as a commentator for national figure skating events and competitions, as well as the Winter Olympic Games.
Michael Phelps has made his way into the record books as not just one of the greatest American swimmers in the world, but as one of the most decorated Olympians of all time. Phelps holds 28 medals, with 23 of them being gold. The swimmer came out of retirement for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, after being antagonized by a sports rival, Chad Le Clos. Phelps had claimed to take his final dive after the London 2012 games but as we saw last year, he took top prize in Brazil as expected to. Now, officially retired at the age of 31, Michael has taken up golf and is spending most of his free time with his family. When Forbes asked about ending his career for the second and last time, Phelps simply stated “To be honest, It’s not that hard. I’ve been in this sport for 24 years.”
Kristi Yamaguchi was a pop culture phenomenon just as much as she was a figure skating prodigy. From a young age, her love of the ice was undeniable and she won her first gold medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics. She’s also a two-time World Champion and the 1992 United States Champion of figure skating. After a brief, yet successful career, Yamaguchi entered retirement and the world of children’s books. In 2011, she authored a book with her partner Tim Bowers and was the crowned champion on season 6 of Dancing with the Stars. Kristi also appears as the occasional figure skating analyst on NBC during Olympic season.
Allyson Felix has 6 Olympic gold medals and doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon. She’s been a competing Olympian since the 2008 Olympic Games, medalling in Beijing, London, and Rio. At 30 years old, the track and field star plans to keep training for the 2020 Olympic competition. Felix is a 3-time World Champion and is the only female in Olympic history to win 6 gold medals in her sport. This dedicated athlete promotes all-natural body enhancement and subjects herself to regular, routine testing as an active participant of the US Anti-Doping Agency’s “Project Believe” program.
At the 1984 Olympic Games, Carl Lewis earned 4 Olympic gold medals. Overall, the track and field star has 9 Olympic gold medals and 10 World Championships under his belt. From 1982 until 1984, Lewis was named Sports Illustrated Magazine’s Athlete of the Year. He retired in 1997 after almost 20 years in the sport. In 2011, Lewis attempted to run as a Democratic for the New Jersey Senate, but was removed from the race due to residence ineligibility. Otherwise, the former Olympic Champion manages his own branding company, C.L.E.G., marketing products and services.
Mary Lou Retton
Mary Lou Retton is still one of the most recognized Olympian athletes of all time… even as she grows in age! In the 1984 Summer Olympics, Retton was the named first female gymnast to win a gold medal in the Individual All-Around. She has also won 2 silver medals and 2 bronze medals. After she retired from gymnastics, Retton lived in Houston, Texas until 2009 when she moved to West Virginia with her family. In 2012, she relocated back to Houston with her 4 daughters and husband. Post-gymnastics, Mary Lou lives a healthy lifestyle and is a well-known fitness enthusiast.
Ian Thorpe is one of the most entertaining Olympian athletes the world has ever had the pleasure of watching. Ironically enough, this champion swimmer is allergic to chlorine! Thorpe is the most decorated Olympian athlete in Australia with 5 Olympic gold medals and is held in high regard by fellow swimmer, Michael Phelps. In 2013, he sustained a shoulder injury which deterred his future plans to compete but was honored with a Doctor of Letters from Macquarie University for his sports philanthropy and work with indigenous rights. In 2014, Thorpe officially came out publicly; “I’m comfortable saying I’m a gay man. And I don’t want people to feel the same way I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay.”
Bart Conner won 2 Olympic gold medals in Men’s Gymnastics during the 1984 Summer Games. He struck gold, quite literally speaking, after he demonstrated his unique and athletic talents on the parallel bars. Today, he is the owner and primary manger of the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy in Norman, Oklahoma. He is still married to his fellow Olympian athlete wife, Nadia Comăneci, a former Romanian gymnast. Together, they are active in The Special Olympics.
Natalie Coughlin started competitive swimming at the age of six and won 12 NCAA titles while being in school as well as five U.S National titles. In 2004, she joined the U.S Olympic Swimming Team and won two gold medals for the 100m backstroke and the 800m freestyle relay. In 2008 she set a new record for the 100m backstroke, being the first woman to swim the distance in less than a minute. She won another gold medal in 2012 for the 100m swim and a silver for the 400m freestyle relay. Although her athletic career has ended, she is still very successful today and is a brand ambassador and investor in a frozen food company.
Paavo Nurmi is a memorable Olympian athlete. He never turned professional but did snag 9 gold medals and 3 silver medals throughout the 12 Olympic Games he participated in. He was nicknamed “The Flying Finn” for his talents in long-distance running and was undefeated in 800m for 121 consecutive races. Nurmi passed away in 1973 at the age of 76 in Finland. In his spare time, he played the violin and was a fan of classical music. Though he was a gifted athlete, in personal life Nurmi did not keep close friends and was only married 1 time during the mid-1930’s.
Usain Bolt made quite the controversy at the 2016 Rio Olympics. In terms of his athletic talent, he placed himself amongst the top rank of Olympian greats be winning 9 gold medals in Rio and as od 2017, has retired and plans to settle down. While at the 2016 Summer Games, he found himself amidst a cheating scandal, where videos of him with other women (who were not his girlfriend) were highly critiqued and publicized. Regardless, Bolt has returned to Jamaica and has decided to bow out gracefully with a long list full of Olympic accomplishments.
Mike Eruzione is a legendary hero in the Olympian universe. In the 1980 Winter Games, Eruzione led the U.S.A. to victory against the Soviet Union and was dubbed the “miracle on ice.” The hockey event has gone down as one of the greatest victories in gold medal history. Since retiring from professional ice hockey, Mike has returned to his alma mater, Boston University, to work as the Director of Special Outreach. In 2002, he returned to the Olympics with his 1980’s team to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony. He is married with 2 children.
Matt Biondi is an 11-time Olympic medalist who came oh, so close to beating Mark Spitz’s record for most gold medals held. Biondi has 8 gold medals total and he set 3, individual world records in both the 50-meter freestyle and 4 in the 100-meter freestyle. The former swimmer has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the United States Olympic Hall of Fame. In his retirement, Biondi has turned his into a profitable source of income. He teaches math and coaches the local swim team at Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, a small Los Angeles neighborhood.
Larisa Latynina is an Olympian for life. For 48 years, until Michael Phelps surpassed her in 2012, she was the world record holder for the most Olympic gold medal with 18. Latynina won 14 individual medals and 4 all-around team medals. When she retired from gymnastics, Larisa signed on to the coach the Soviet Union’s Women’s Gymnastics team. She led the Soviet ladies to Olympic gold in the 1968, 1972 and 1976 Games. Today, the prized athlete and pride of the former Soviet Union lives in Semenovskoye, Russia.
Jean-Claude Killy a triple Olympic Champion who competed in the 1968 Winter Olympics. With 3 gold medals and 2 gold cups, he’s the most celebrated French skier in his home nation. Killy was married once, to the late French actress Danielle Gaubert, and they had 1 daughter together. Killy also adopted her 2 children from a previous marriage. Today, Jean-Claude Killy is famed for his friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Bjørn Dæhlie is the most celebrated Norweigan athlete, with a collection 8 gold medals. He was the most successful cross-country skier in the nation and rose to international fame after competing in the 1992 Winter Olympics. Dæhlie has 29 medals total from his Olympic and World Championship career. He still competes in World Championships, much to the dismay of his doctors’ wishes, and pushes through the pain of various injuries he’s sustained over the years. The former Olympian also works as a fashion designer. Yes, we said fashion designer.
Sawao Kato is one of the most successful and missed Olympians since he departed from the 1976 Games. He won 12 medals, 8 of them are gold. Kato’s specialty was the parallel bars and he closed out his memorable career with his final win the Individual Men’s Gymnastics Event. He is one of 10 athletes in Olympic history to have won 8 or more gold medals and in Japan, he is listed as the Olympic athlete with the most medals overall. Since 2010, Kato has worked as professor emeritus at the University of Tsukuba and he was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame back in 2001.
Tennis pro Andre Agassi has proved to be a polarizing figure in the athletic world throughout the course of his career. He experienced several spikes in his popularity, as well as his game, and at times noticeably struggled on the court. Towards the end of his career, Andre claimed a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics. He retired in 2003, officially. He’s been married to another professional tennis player since 2001, Steffi Graf, and they have two children together. The family lives in a Las Vegas Valley, Summerlin.
Recently, Aly Raisman has been lumped in with the “Fierce 5” that performed flawlessly at the 2016 Rio Olympics but she’s a veteran Olympian who gained star status well before last year’s games. Aly was the first American female to win the gold medal for the individual floor exercise competition and was the most decorated American gymnast at the London 2012 Games. In between Rio and London, Aly was a contestant on the 16th season of Dancing With The Stars, placing 4th place overall with her dancing partner, Mark Ballas.
Mia Hamm was a groundbreaking athlete during her years as an Olympian. In a sport that is still dominated by men today, Hamm became a two-time gold medalist on the United States Women’s Olympic Soccer Team and is a FIFA World Cup Champion. She was also named FIFA’s Female World Player of the Year twice and has been inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, and the World Football Hall of Fame. Now, Mia is a special ambassador for FC Barcelona. Mia has been referred to as “Perhaps the most important athlete of the last 15 years.”
This kayaking specialist earned 8 Olympic gold medals over the span of her 20-year career. Brigit Fisher competed in 8 Olympic Games and several World Championships, and is the youngest-oldest canoeing champion to have ever competed. She’s retired twice, once in 1988 and again in 2000, only to realize her love for the sport surpassed her need for retirement. Notably, the German powerhouse has also won 38 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships. Today, Fisher also works as a photographer and displays her work through the Art of the Olympians Foundation.
Michelle Kwan is an olympic figure skater. Her parents are immigrants from Hong Kong, and Michelle started skating at the young age of five. She quickly won her first figure skating competition within her first year of skating. She came in 8th place in the 1994 World Championships at the age of only 13, and was an alternate for the 1994 Olympics. In 1998, she competed in the Nagano Olympics and won the silver medal. In 2002, she did not win, and she tried again on the 2006 Olympics but due to a strained groin had no choice but to withdraw.
Rulon E Garden won two Olympic medals in wrestling. His first was the gold medal in the 2000 Sydney 130kg Greco-Roman wrestling. His second was a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics. He has been through many unfortunate events, including being punctured in the abdomen by an arrow, separated from his friends after falling through ice in Salt River, as well well as surviving an airplane crash at Lake Powell. After his wrestling career he became a motivational speaker and was on the Biggest Loser in 2011.
George Foreman took up boxing at young age won the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics as the heavyweight champion. He became a part of the World Boxing Hall of Fame as well as the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He retired in 1977 and became the official spokesperson for the fat-reducing George Foreman Grill. In 1999 Salton, Inc. paid him $137 million to use his name and also made 40% of the profits from each grill.
Mark Spitz was born in Russia and moved to Hawaii at the age of two. By age nine he began training at Arden Hills Swim Club in Sacramento. He was coached by Sherm Chavoor, a former Olympic medal winner. He competed in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics as well as the 1972 Summer Olympics. Between the two he took home nine gold medals from freestyle, butterfly and medley swimming competitions. He retired from his swimming career at the age of 22 and was added to the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1977.
Gregory Louganis comes from Samoan and Swedish descent, however was raised by adoptive parents. He is an American Olympic diver and LGBT activist. He won two gold medals, one in 1984 and the other in 1988 at the Summer Olympics in springboard and platform. He was the first diver to get a perfect score of 10 from all seven of the judges. In 1988 at the Seoul Olympics he had a head injury and this led to a controversy as people discovered he had HIV in 1995. Now he is the official mentor for the U.S Diving team.
Gabrielle Douglas began learning gymnastics at the age of three from her older sister. She took more formal lesson at six years ago and within two years she became the Virginia State Gymnastic Champion. She helped bring the U.S team to the gold medal in 2011 in the World Artistic Championships in Tokyo, Japan and the year after she also helped them win gold in London at the 2012 Summer Olympics. And she won yet another gold medal in the 2016 Olympics.
Jacqueline Kersee won three gold medals in the heptathlon, the long jump in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. She was the very first woman to obtain a score of 7,000 points in a heptathlon event. In 1984 she won a silver medal at the Los Angeles Olympics, and in 1996 a bronze medal at the Atlanta Olympics. After her athletic career ended, she started the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation which helps families in poverty. Her heptathlon world record is still yet to be beat.
Ole Einar Bjørndalen
Ole Einar Bjørndalen is a Norwegian biathlete who was given the nickname ‘The King of the Biathlon’. He won the most medals in the Winter Olympic Games in 1994, taking home eight gold medals, four silver medals and one bronze. He was won 44 medals in his career, which is double the amount of any other biathlete in athletic history. He has competed in all six Winter Olympics from 1994 and is planning to be part of the 2018 competition as well. He has no intention of retiring any time soon.
Dorothy Hamill began ice skating was she was only eight years old. She took her first title at age twelve. She competed in the 1976 Winter Olympics and won the gold medal in women’s singles by age twenty. She is known to have created the Hamill camel, which is a unique skating move that turns a camel spin into a sit spin. She has quit her professional skating career however she still can be found skating with Broadway on Ice.
Dara Torres began to swim when she was only seven years old. She won twelve Olympic medals, and competed in five Summer Olympic games. She unfortunately had to have reconstructive surgery on her knees which was a stress to her swimming success. She announced she would be retiring from competitive swimming in 2012. After this, she shifted her focus to a modeling career. She is also a television reporter, and works as a charitable organizer for cancer research.
Apolo Ohno was an American short track speed skater who won eight Winter Olympic medals. He was the youngest American national reigning champion from 2001 to 2009, getting his first win at the age of fourteen. He competed on Dancing with the Stars in 2007 and won. He ended his skating career in 2013 and was a commentator for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. He has worked as a motivational speaker and began his own nutritional supplement company.
Shaun White is a professional snow and skateboarder. He trained under Tony Hawk’s expertise and won the 2006 Turin Olympic Games,. He also took the 2010 Vancouver gold medal for the halfpipe. He took the word record for the most amount of medals at the X-Games and has also been awarded with 10 ESPY Awards. He still trains but he also plays the guitar in Bad Things, a rock band, and acted in the film Friends with Benefits as well as American Dad.
Charles Barkley is known as one the most loud, controversial and dominant players in basketball. He was an All-Star player who was awarded with league MVP Honors in 1993. He scored an average of 22.1 points per game and 23 points per game in playoffs season. He is also the shortest NBA basketball player to lead the league in rebounds, topping the NBA for three years straight. He is now retired from basketball and works as an analyst for the NBA television program.
Dick Fosbury started playing around with jumping techniques from age sixteen. He changed high jumping by adding his own backward style. His unique jumping style became known as the Fosbury Flop. This flop includes a curved running approach, a modified scissor jump as well as back layout, in which the jumper lands on his shoulders and neck. In 1968 he won the NCAA title and is famous for setting the high jump Olympic record. In 1993 he was elected to Hall of Fame. Today he is a member of the ‘Champions for Peace’ club, a group of elite athletes who work to bring world peace through sports.
Sergey Bubka won six IAFF World Championships in a row, as well as an Olympic gold medal. He broke the men’s pole vault world record 35 times, and was named Athlete of the Year twice by Track & Field news. He has improved his personal record from 1984 to 1994 from 5.85m to 6.14m. In 2012, he was one of 24 athletes who were added to the International Association of Athletics Hall of Fame.
Jan Zelezny is an Olympic champion as well as a world record holder. He holds the record for the top five javelin performances in history. He set the world record in 1996 with a 98.48 throw, and set the world championships record in 2001 with a throw of 92.8m. Further, he is the only man to have won three javelin gold medals. He has thrown 53 of 99 throw over 90 meters. He still works for the IOC and is also a coach in Prague.
Shannon Lee Miller
Shannon Lee Miller was the unofficial leader of the “Magnificent 7” during the 1996 Women’s Gymnastics Event. In the record books, Miller is listed as the 10th most decorated gymnast of all time and was the reigning supreme at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics with a grand win of 5 gold medals. Now, she is the 2nd most decorated female gymnast in United States history right behind Simone Biles as of the 2016 Rio Games. In 2013, the former gymnast welcomed her second child with her husband, John Falconetti, the President of Drummond Press.
Cathy Freeman was the first indigenous female to place in The Commonwealth Games and 10 medals underneath her Olympian belt. Cathy’s specialty event was the 400-meter. She won her first gold medal in the 2000 Olympic Games and retired in 2003 to spend time with her husband a daughter. Freeman founded the Cathy Freeman Association and the Indigenous Education Foundation and as an ambassador for Cottage By The Sea, helping needy children.
Chad Le Clos
Chad Le Clos is a famous, talented Olympic swimmer in his own right but since 2012, has become well-known for his public rivalry with Michael Phelps. Le Clos’ last gold medal victory was in the 2012 London Games, when he beat Phelps in the200-meterr butterfly event. It was then, that Phelps announced his retirement from the sport but quickly returned after Chad Le Clos was credited as the rival who took Michael Phelps out of swimming for good. In Rio, Le Clos and Phelps went head to head in their usual specialty, the butterfly, but both swimmers fell behind Hungarian swimmer, Tamas Kenderesi. Chad Le Clos is the most decorated South African Olympian to date.
Kerri Walsh Jennings
Kerri Walsh Jennings is a triple Olympic gold medalist and a professional volleyball player. She gained international attention this past year at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Walsh Jennings is one of the most decorated volleyball players in Olympic history, male or female. For their past 4 appearances at the 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016, Walsh Jennings and her teammate Misty May-Treanor, have been referred to as “the greatest beach volleyball team of all time.”
Sir Steve Redgrave
Sir Steve Redgrave is a monster in the sport of rowing. He competed in 5 Olympic Games, from 1984 until 2000, and took a gold medal home at each and every one of them. He is still considered the greatest male rower in Olympic history and was voted number 36 in the BBC poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. Today, he holds the spot as the 4th most decorated British Olympian to have competed in the overall games. In 2011, Redgrave was the recipient of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award. He has 3 children with his wife Ann Redgrave.
Before she became Caitlyn Jenner, she was Bruce, also known as “The All-American Hero.” In 1976, Bruce claimed his third, consecutive Olympic Gold Medal and was titled the “World’s Greatest Athlete” for dominating the Games most difficult track competition. He was an inspirational hero to the athletic work and retired from the sport with an impressive track record (pun intended). Today, Bruce has successfully transitioned into Caitlyn Jenner and belongs to one of pop culture’s most influential families – The Kardashians. Caitlyn can be seen on Keeping Up With The Kardashians and has her own reality show, “Caitlyn.”
If her name doesn’t ring a bell, then her story certainly will. Tonya Harding was a figure skating champion with a total of five gold medals under her belt. The two-time Olympian and Skate America champion had a pretty successful career up until 1994 when it transpired that her ex-husband hired someone to break the leg of Harding’s main competitor Nancy Kerrigan. Since then, she’s tried her hand at boxing professionally and even commentated on a TruTV show.
American figure skater, Nancy Kerrigan, won a bronze medal in the 1992 Winter Olympics, as well as the silver medal in the 1994 Winter Olympic Games. Kerrigan’s story took a very public and terrifying turn when fellow figure skater, Tonya Harding’s ex-husband hired a man to attack Kerrigan and injure her knee with a police baton. Kerrigan managed to get back on the Olympic team in time to win her 1994 medal.
McKayla Maroney is known for her “not impressed” facial expression that gained massive internet popularity after winning the silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics. She took a gold medal for the Women’s Team All-Around Event, though. Her career was cut short to a chronic injury and while she’s been present at recent games and gymnastics events to commentate, she herself can no longer compete. Today, Maroney has transitioned into the entertainment industry and appears on shows such as Bones and Heart of Dixie. She is set to release her debut single “Ghost” later in 2017.