Famous Olympic Athletes And How They’re Looking Years Later

Posted by Zainab Pervez in Sports On 24th July 2021
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Olympic medalists are among the most exceptional human beings on the planet. Unsurprisingly, these outstanding individuals often continue to excel later in life… Check out some of the greatest Olympians and how they’re doing nowadays.

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Some athletes compete one time in the Olympic Games and hang up their hats, stepping gracefully into retirement. Some, however, spend their days training to return to the competition. And others, of course, split their time between athletic passion and real-life responsibilities.

Keep scrolling to see the progress of Olympians throughout the years!

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Caitlyn Jenner: Then

In 1976, Jenner took home gold at the Montreal Games in the decathlon, which consists of 10 separate track and field events, including high jump, pole vault and hurdles. Following her success at the Games, Jenner — dubbed the "World's Greatest Athlete" — appeared on her own Wheaties cereal box.

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Caitlyn Jenner: Now

After being plagued by rumors for more than a year, the former athlete came out as a transgender woman during a 20/20 special with Diane Sawyer in April 2015. Five minutes into the program, Jenner revealed, "For all intents and purposes, I am a woman." Jenner later introduced her new self, Caitlyn Jenner, on the cover of Vanity Fair's July 2015 issue.

She later starred on her own E! reality series, I Am Cait, which documented her life following her transition.

In April 2021, Jenner announced that she was officially entering the race for California Governor. 

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Lindsey Vonn: Then

Skier Vonn, who made her Olympic debut in 2002 at age 17, was the first American woman to nab a gold medal in the downhill event at the 2010 Winter Olympics. (She also took home a bronze in 2010's Super-G race.)

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Lindsey Vonn: Now

The skier went public with her relationship with golf pro Tiger Woods in 2013. The pair were together for nearly three years before they split in May 2015. Vonn was later linked to P.K. Subban. The duo split in December 2020, one year after announcing their engagement.

Professionally, Vonn sat out the 2014 Winter Olympics after injuring her knee, but competed at the 2018 Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. She tied for sixth in the Women's Super-G and got a bronze medal in women’s downhill. The athlete retired from competition in February 2019 after she came in third at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Sweden.

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Gabby Douglas: Then

"I Googled 'Gabby Douglas,' and all these things popped up! Like, 'Gabby Douglas makes history,’ and, 'She's the champion!'" Douglas admitted to Us after she and her Fierce Five teammates — Aly RaismanMcKayla MaroneyKyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber — took home gold in the Women's All-Around gymnastics final in 2012. "It was an amazing feeling."

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Gabby Douglas: Now

Since winning gold at the 2012 Olympics, the gymnast has continued to dominate in her sport. She won several medals in various competitions in 2015, and two more gold medals in 2016. She competed again at the 2018 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she helped the U.S.A. win its second consecutive gold medal in the team event.

In November 2017, Douglas bravely came forward about her experience with the former U.S.A. Gymnastics national team doctor, Larry Nassar, who has been accused of sexual abuse by more than 200 women. In January 2018, he was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison.

Douglas competed in the first season of Masked Dancer and was declared the winner in 2020. 

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Ryan Lochte: Then

The New York-born swimmer — known for his catchphrase, "Jeah” — went to his first Olympic Games in 2004 and took home his first individual gold in the men's 400-meter individual medley at the London Games in 2012.

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Ryan Lochte: Now

Lochte briefly starred on his own E! reality series, What Would Ryan Locate Do?, which followed his journey to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. The athlete helped teammates Michael PhelpsConor Dwyer and Townley Haas bring home a gold medal in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, and came in fifth in 200-meter individual medley.

He made headlines during the Games after he and teammate Jimmy Feigen falsely stated that they were robbed in Rio during a night out. The former reality star later admitted that he “over-exaggerated that story,” which later became known as Lochtegate. U.S.A. Swimming suspended Lochte from domestic and international competitions for 14 months as a result. The former Dancing With the Stars contestant called the situation “the hardest time” of his life during a February 2019 episode of Celebrity Big Brother.

Although Lochte’s professional journey has been filled with struggles, his personal life has flourished. He and model Kayla Reid welcomed a son named Caiden in June 2017, and the coupled tied the knot in a civil ceremony seven months later. In November 2018, they announced they were expecting baby No. 2, a little girl. They welcomed their daughter, Liv Rae, in June 2019.

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Michael Phelps: Then

Phelps started breaking world records in 2001, when he set the record for the 200-meter butterfly at just 15 years and 9 months.

At the 2003 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona, he broke his own record for the 200-meter with a time of 1:53.93. In August 2012, he swam the 4x100-meter medley relay at the London Games, which was to be his final competitive race, and won, bringing his total of Olympic medals to 22. 

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Michael Phelps: Now

The most decorated Olympian of all time initially announced his retirement in 2012, but changed his mind and came back for the 2016 Olympic Games, where he won five golds and one silver. He announced his second retirement in August 2016.

Phelps secretly married former pageant contestant Nicole Johnson in June 2016, but their wedding was not revealed for four months. The pair share three sons: Boomer, born in 2016, Beckett, born in 2018, and Maverick, born in 2019.

Phelps has also been open about his struggles with depression and is an advocate for mental health care.

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Hope Solo: Then

Soccer goalie Hope Solo made multiple saves during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, helping Team U.S.A. beat Brazil to take the gold. After finishing fourth on Dancing With the Stars in 2011, she tested positive for a banned prescription medication and was warned by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency before the 2012 Summer Games.

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Hope Solo: Now

The Solo: A Memoir of Hope author married former NFL star Jerramy Stevens in November 2012 after leading her team to a second Olympic gold medal at the London Games. The following year, she helped the U.S. team win the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup and received the Golden Glove trophy for being the best goalie.

She considered sitting out the 2016 Summer Games due to concerns about the Zika virus, but ultimately decided to try for a third gold medal. The U.S.A lost to Sweden in the quarterfinals, however, and Solo’s response made waves.

Following the match, the athlete called the Swedish team “a bunch of cowards” for their style of play. She was subsequently suspended by U.S.A. Soccer for six months and her national team contract was terminated.

In April 2020, Solo welcomed twins, Vittorio and Lozen, with Stevens after previously having a miscarriage.

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Shawn Johnson: Then

Iowa native Johnson — who trained under the elite Liang Chow — won her first gold medal at age 16 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. By the end of the Beijing Games, Johnson also earned three silver medals for the team, individual all-around and floor exercise competitions. 

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Shawn Johnson: Now

Johnson announced her retirement from competitive gymnastics in June 2012 after a knee injury that stopped her from competing for a spot at the London Olympics. She was 20 years old. “My body is to the point where I need to rest and retire so I can be healthy for the rest of my life,” she told the Associated Press at the time.

The gold medalist married football player Andrew East, with whom she shares a successful YouTube channel, in April 2016. The pair suffered a miscarriage in October 2017, but announced in April 2019 that they are expecting again. The pair welcomed daughter Drew in October 2019 and announced in March 2021 that they were expecting baby No. 2, a boy.

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Kerri Walsh Jennings: Then

Alongside beach volleyball partner Misty May-Treanor, Walsh took home gold medals at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

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Kerri Walsh: Now

Walsh Jennings, who announced after the London Games that she was pregnant with her third child during the Olympics, welcomed daughter Scout in 2013. (She is also mom to sons Joseph and Sundance with fellow pro volleyball player Casey Jennings.) The athlete returned to the sand at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with new partner April Ross; the pair won a bronze medal.

Walsh received backlash online after not wearing a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic. She took to social media to call a trip to the store without a mask "a little exercise in being brave." Walsh apologized one day later via Instagram. 

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Simone Biles: Then

Biles stormed the gymnastics scene when she won five medals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio: gold in the team event, the individual all-around competition, the vault and the floor exercise. She also took home the bronze in the balance beam final. The athlete set an American record for most gold medals won at a single Games.

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Simone Biles: Now

Following her success at the Rio Games, Biles took a break from competitive gymnastics. She wrote an autobiography titled Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance, and competed on season 24 of Dancing With the Stars alongside Sasha Farber. Biles started competing again in 2018, the same year she revealed that she was also a victim of Nassar.

Biles dated Stacey Ervin Jr. for three years before calling it quits in 2020.

“It’s hard being young and having that long of a relationship and then ending it,” she explained to Vogue for their August 2020 cover story, noting that “it was for the best.”

She began dating Jonathan Owens in 2020.

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Greg Louganis: Then

Regarded as one of the best in his sport, diver Louganis won gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and at the 1988 Seoul Games, during which he suffered a concussion. HIV positive since 1988, openly gay Louganis went public with his diagnosis in the mid-90s. His autobiography, Breaking the Surface, was adapted into a 1997 TV movie starring Mario Lopez.

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Greg Louganis: Now

In March 2013, ABC tapped Louganis to serve as a trainer on their diving show, Splash, on which stars including Brandi Chastain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar competed. "Doing a celebrity diving show without Greg Louganis would be like producing a celebrity basketball show without Michael Jordan," Splash's JD Roth told The Hollywood Reporter.

Following his retirement from diving, Louganis began competing in dog agility competitions. He married partner Johnny Chaillot in October 2013. Louganis confirmed in June 2021 that they have ended their marriage.

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