Watching George Foreman pound the punching bag with his large fists gave you the impression he could cut a tree with his bare hands. “Big George” won a gold medal in boxing during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. He became more popular for his “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing match with Muhammad Ali in 1974.
He is now a successful entrepreneur and spokesperson for the George Foreman Grill, which has sold more than a million units. He was paid $138 million for the grill’s naming rights in 1999.
Peggy Fleming’s love for figure skating began when her father took her and her sisters out to skate. She mastered basic skating skills by the age of nine. After the US figure skating team tragically passed in 1961 while on their way to compete at the World Figure Skating Championships, she changed coaches.
Having her own skating style, Fleming easily caught people’s attention. This helped her capture 3 world titles, and with more training, she was able to grab a gold medal during the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble. This was the only gold medal won by the US, however, it manifested their gradual return to dominance in figure skating. She’s been a sports commentator for more than two decades, covering the Winter Olympic Games, and the sport she has dedicated most of her life to.
Chad Le Clos
Chad Le Clos is a South African competitive swimming champion. He won titles in the Olympics, World Championships, and the Commonwealth Games. Unfortunately, his glitzy record is often undermined by his public rivalry with American champion swimmer Michael Phelps.
The American decided to revoke his retirement to compete against Chad in the 2016 Rio Olympics, who beat him in 2012 in London in the 200m butterfly event. Both of them, however, lost to Tamas Kenderesi from Hungary. He is still actively competing in swimming and is considered the most decorated Olympian from South Africa.
Tonya Harding devoted most of her time growing up training to become a professional figure skater. She even quit high school to gain more time to develop her skills, and this would soon redound to positive results. The two-time Olympian has a total of five gold medals, and she’s only the second woman in history to perform the extremely difficult triple Axel.
She was banned for life after her ex-husband hired somebody to attack Nancy Kerrigan, her skating rival, and after she had pleaded guilty to hindering the case of the prosecution. She has since turned to pro boxing and has a record of 3-3.
At a time when the United States and the Soviet Union were at the peak of their rivalry as superpowers, competing for world supremacy in practically everything, sports competitions were a grand platform to show off their talents to the world. And in the midst of such ethos, Mike Eruzione came out as an ice hockey hero.
He was the captain of the 1980 Winter Olympics, where the US team was regarded as huge underdogs versus the Soviets who were deemed unbeatable. The game was called the “Miracle on Ice,” where Mike Eruzione upped his game to score the winning goal in favor of the US.