For more than a decade, Michelle Kwan has won numerous medals in international events that would make her not just the most popular figure skater in America, but also the most decorated, and one of the most prominent female athletes regardless of sport.
Her consistency and expressive artistry helped her garner two Olympic medals in 1998 and 2002, as well as become a five-time world champion. She is often regarded as one of the best figure skaters of all time, and one of the highest-paid Winter Olympic athletes in terms of endorsements. She last worked as an outreach coordinator during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016.
As a competitive swimmer, Summer Sanders specialized in the Butterfly and the Individual Medley. She only competed once in the Olympics in 1992 in Barcelona, where she won four gold medals.
Her popularity after the games helped her land a job as a commentator for CBS Sports, NBC, and MSNBC where she covered various sports events. This would serve as a kickstart to a more prosperous career in television, as she would also make various appearances on many networks such as being the first female host of Nickelodeon. She is married to Olympian skier Erik Schlopy, and they have two children.
Bjørn Dæhlie isn’t about willing to let go of a career as a cross-country skier, which has made him arguably the most famous Norwegian athlete. During his prime, he has accumulated 29 medals from the Olympic competitions and the World Championships, eight of which are Olympic golds.
At the age of 51, he was still competing, much to the annoyance of his doctors and family, as he has to deal with his many injuries acquired over time. But perhaps this is where he finds his value in his life, and he braves the pain each time he performs. When he’s not competing he works as a fashion designer.
Bart Conner became the youngest member of the US Olympic team in the 1976 Summer Olympics at the age of 14. He had been competing since high school, and he probably would have won a medal after he qualified for the 1980 Olympics. But his dreams were aborted due to the boycott.
He finally won two gold medals during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles following his unique performance on the parallel bars. He found his true love, too, in competition; marrying Nadia Comăneci, a Romanian gymnast he’d met in 1976 at the Montreal Games. Both are active in the Special Olympics.
Thanks to one of Gabrielle Douglas’s older sisters, her mother was convinced to enroll her in gymnastics lessons when she was only six years old. She took formal lessons and even lived away from her family to pursue her training. She is the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the individual all-around event, and also the first American gymnast to win the gold in the individual all-around and the team competitions as well in the same Olympic Games.
Douglas attributes all her success to God. She says He is the secret to her success. She won the gold medal during the 2012 London Olympics and repeated her performance in the Rio Olympics in 2016. She has written a book, sharing her experiences, and what it takes to be an Olympic gold medalist.