7 Memorable TV Appearances From Olympic Athletes
Now that the medals have been awarded, the flame has been extinguished, and most of Team USA is back on American soil, you’re probably wondering what’s next for our Olympians. In the ’90s, the definitive answer might have been “I’m going to Disneyland!” But today that answer is, “I’m going to be on television!”
And now, golden swimmer boys Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte are getting in on the act. Lochte will appear on ’90210,’ while Phelps filmed a program for the Golf Channel. Both are mulling reality shows, naturally. But they’d be wise to pay attention to TV appearances and cameos from athletes of years past. Here is our list of Olympians and their best TV appearances. From game shows to reality TV, our Olympians sure know how to make their moment count!
Nastia Liukin Meets Chuck Bass on ‘Gossip Girl’
Before there was all around champ Gabby Douglas, there was golden girl Nastia Liukin. After taking the top prize in Beijing, Nastia wasted absolutely no time working the red carpet. Our favorite moment in her media blitz, however, is a featured extra part on The CW’s ‘Gossip Girl’. In this clip, watch her attempt to put the moves on lady-killer Chuck Bass. Nowadays, Nastia is retired and can be seen as a correspondent for gymnastics coverage on NBC and as a fashion designer with an affordable sportswear collection for ‘tweens.
Misty May-Treanor is a Giveaway Guest Gal on ‘Price Is Right’
Three time gold medalist in beach volleyball, Misty May-Treanor wasted no time working the media circuit. She appeared on ‘Good Morning America’ on Tuesday just days after surprising husband Los Angeles Dodger Matt Treanor at Marlins Park in Miami. Our favorite media appearance from May-Treanor, however, is a clip prior to London where she walked a lucky Showcase Showdown contestant on the ‘Price is Right’ through a series of volleyball-themed prizes. No word on whether the lucky contestant took home the prize, but we’d be stoked either way.
Shaq Gets Tripped on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’
Many people recall the historic implications of basketball’s “Dream Team” at the summer games of 1992. The follow up Atlanta team in 1996 contained just as many heavy hitters, including larger than life center Shaquille O’Neal. After taking home the gold for Team USA, the all-star began making television appearances, including our favorite, this cameo in a 2001 episode of HBO’s ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Apparently this was just the beginning of Shaq’s TV career off of the court; he’s since starred in several films (‘Kazaam’) reality TV programs, and most recently can be seen as an analyst on TNT’s ‘Inside The NBA.’
Summer Sanders Hosts Nickeloden’s ‘Figure it Out’
In 1992, effervescent and bubbly Summer Sanders took home four Olympic medals in swimming. Nickeloden executives must’ve liked what they saw because a few years later, Sanders became the host of children’s quiz show ‘Figure it Out.’
Post-’Figure it Out’ Sanders hosted a number of shows on theFox network such as ‘Skating with Celebrities’ and ‘The Sports List.” She appeared in 2010 as a contestant on NBC’s ‘Celebrity Apprentice,” and was seen this year on ‘Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off’. It’s safe to say that Sanders and her charming persona are a match made in broadcasting heaven.
Greg Louganis Gets Hip on ‘Portlandia’
Louganis took home medals for his efforts in diving in the ’76, ’84 and ’88 Olympic games. In 1995, he shocked the world when he told Oprah and Barbara Walters that he was gay and HIV positive. Undeterred by the disease, Louganis put his acting and dancing training to use appearing in numerous films and lending his voice to his 1997 bio-pic, ‘Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story.’ In 2011 he popped up again in our favorite moment on IFC’s indie comedy ‘Porlandia,’ where he played himself.
Bruce Jenner Keeps Up with the Kardashians
Younger fans might remember Jenner as reality TV step father to Khloe, Kourtney, and Kim Kardashian, but before he was dear old dad, Jenner hit it big in 1976 with a gold medal in decathlon. In London, Jenner flexed his hosting muscles, serving as a Special Correspondent for E!’s Olympic coverage. As cohost of the program, Jenner spoke with athletes and coaches alike. We enjoyed watching him attempt to decipher the heavily accented words of Coach Bela Karolyi.
Apolo Ohno Dances With The Stars
Apolo Ohno is an eight-time Olympic medalist. He competed in three Olympic games in 2002, 2006, and 2010, and quickly became a media darling. Our favorite post-Olympic appearance was his turn as a dancer on ABC’s hit program, ‘Dancing With the Stars’ where he and partner Julianne Hough danced their way to victory. Ohno has just announced that he will team up with Karina Smirnoff for a second go around in ‘Dancing With the Stars All-Stars.’ On this season he will face off with fellow DTWS winner and 2008 Olympian Shawn Johnson. It promises to be an exciting season.