The world is watching this month as the summer Olympic Games play out in Brazil. If you’re already brushed up on the schedule of the events, it might be time to check in to see what a few of the greatest former U.S. Olympians are doing today.
From the first U.S. woman gymnast to receive the gold (Mary Lou Retton) to a four-time Olympic diver-turned-LGBT activist (Greg Louganis), here are five legendary athletes and what they are up to now.
1. Gymnast Mary Lou Retton
Retton took home the All Around Gold Medal in women’s gymnastics at the 1984 Olympic games, becoming the first American woman to ever win a gold medal in gymnastics.
The Olympic gymnast was a commentator for NBC at the 1988 Olympic Games and also wrote a daily column for USA Today during the 1992 and 1996 Olympics.
Retton now travels as a “Fitness Ambassador” and is a motivational speaker and spokesperson. She also appeared in films like “Scrooged” and “Naked Gun 33 1/3.”
Fun fact: She was the first woman to be pictured on front of a Wheaties box.
2. Track and Field Olympian Edwin Moses
Edwin Moses took home two gold medals for the 400-meter hurdles, winning one in 1976 and another 1984.
Moses studied physics and engineering and holds an MBA and is now a major champion of anti-doping programs; Moses even helped to institute track and field’s anti-doping program. The Olympian also heads the Laureus World Sport Academy, a sports-based charity that uses sport to pioneer social change.
3. Women’s Soccer Player Mia Hamm
Hamm is recognized for her Olympic gold medal wins in 1996 and 2004. She also won the women’s world cup in in 1999 and 1991, and has competed with the U.S. women’s national soccer team for 17 years.
The legendary soccer player was named on FIFA’s list of “125 Greatest Living Soccer Players” in 2004, then the only American woman to be named on the list.
Today, Hamm is 44 and married to retired professional baseball player Nomar Garciaparra. The two married in 2003, a year before Hamm helped the U.S. team to win a gold medal. Hamm has two twin daughters and a son.
4. Diver Greg Louganis
This four-time Olympic diver earned 5 Olympic medals, 5 World Championship titles and 47 national titles.
In a 1995 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Louganis came out as gay and publically revealed that he was HIV positive.
Today, the Southern Californian native is an activist and an advocate for LGBT rights and HIV awareness. Louganis now mentors the U.S. diving team and was also the subject of an HBO documentary, “Back on Board,” which was released in 2014. The film recounts his struggles and his foray into mentoring hopeful USA Olympic divers.
5. Olympic Wrestler Rulon Gardner
Gardner took home the gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 after historically beating Aleksandr Karelin who was previously undefeated for 13 years.
After retiring after the 2004 Olympics, the Wyoming native famously escaped near-death experiences not once but twice. In 2002, Gardner was snowboarding in Wyoming with friends when he was separated from the group. After being rescued 18 hours after the fact, doctors thought the Olympian would lose his two feet. Instead, he ended up losing a toe.
In 2007, the wrestler’s plane crashed in Lake Powell in Utah in 2007. Gardner and fellow passengers swam over an hour in the freezing water and made it to shore with no major injuries.
Gardner retired in 2004, and in 2012 he went on reality television show “The Biggest Loser.” Gardner continues to wrestle and is now a motivational speaker.