Then and now: The most famous Olympic medalists


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.