After The Games: What Olympic Heroes Are Up To Now

Greg Louganis spends his time with Dr. Schivago, Captain Woof Blitzer, Nipper, Gryffindor, Dobby, and Hedwig

The 2016 Rio Games are coming to a close Sunday night, but names like Biles, Bolt, Manuel, and Ledecky will live on. Each Olympics christens its own class of icons – athletes who transcend quadrennial competition to become near-mythological figures. While still walking among us, they become public memories. Over the last 50 years, many have entered the ranks. Here’s what some of those athletes accomplished after they left the medal stand.

Tommie Smith, USA (1968)

Image via Angelo Cozzi (cc)


Smith, who originally planned to boycott the Mexico City games to protest white minority rule in South Africa and Rhodesia, made history when he raised a Black Power fist on the podium after winning gold in the 200-meter dash. He went on to play three seasons for the Cleveland Browns and taught sociology at Oberlin and Santa Monica College for decades. Today he's retired in Georgia.

John Carlos, USA (1968)

Image via Angelo Cozzi (cc)

Earning bronze in Mexico City’s 200-meter dash, Carlos raised his fist with Smith, completing the iconic image. After the games, the sprinter had a stint in the Canadian Football League, worked for the United States Olympic Committee, and coached high school track in Palm Springs. Still politically active, Carlos participated in the Global Human Rights Torch Rally protesting China’s human rights abuses in 2008, and spoke at Occupy Wall Street in 2011.

Věra Čáslavská, CZE (1960, 1964, 1968)

Image via Dutch National Archives (cc)

Čáslavská dominated gymnastics in Tokyo and Mexico City, winning individual all-around gold both summers. The Czech gymnast also turned her medal ceremony into protest in 1968, amidst the invasion of Czechoslovakia, when she pointedly bowed her head every time the Soviet national anthem played. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Čáslavská worked as a Presidential adviser and ran the Czech Olympic Committee. She still lives in Prague.

Mark Spitz, USA (1968, 1972)

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Spitz was the world’s best swimmer in Mexico City and Munich, winning nine gold medals, mustache and all. After the games, Spitz racked up endorsements, bought a Ferrari, and started a Beverly Hills real estate company. Today he travels the lecture circuit and throws occasional shade at Michael Phelps.

Nadia Comăneci, ROU (1976, 1980)

Comăneci broke the scoreboard when her uneven bars routine earned a perfect 10.00 in Montreal—literally, the manufacturer didn’t think it was possible. That year, the 14-year-old Romanian gymnast took home individual all-around gold. After her coaches defected to the United States in ‘81, Comăneci lived under government supervision until she defected herself in ‘89, weeks before the revolution. In her second life, she’s been a diplomatic counsul, the vice president of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and a contestant on The Apprentice. She currently serves on the Special Olympics’ board of directors and is married to fellow gymnast and two-time Olympic gold medalist Bart Conner.

Caitlyn Jenner, USA (1976)

Image via Ricardo Thomas (cc)

When Jenner won the men's decathlon in Montreal as Bruce Jenner, seizing the title back from the Soviets, she became a national symbol, stamped on Wheaties boxes and birthed into Hollywood. After years of cameos and reality show appearances, she’s now perhaps best known as the stepfather of American television’s first family. Jenner came out as a transgender woman last year and is a vocal advocate for trans rights.

Mary Lou Retton, USA (1984)

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Five weeks after a major knee injury, Retton won individual all-around gold in Los Angeles, scoring perfect 10s on floor exercise and vault, entering America’s heart. Retton became an outspoken Republican in her post-gymnastics career, campaigning hard for Ronald Reagan and speaking at the party’s 2004 national convention. Today, two of her daughters are college gymnasts.

Greg Louganis, USA (1976, 1984, 1988)

Image via Flickr by findingmuse

Louganis swept the diving pool in Los Angeles and Seoul, winning gold both years on the springboard and platform. In 1995, he came out as gay and HIV-positive in an interview with Barbara Walters, and in recent years has advocated widely for LGBT rights. Louganis also competes in dog agility competitions with his pets: Dr. Schivago, Captain Woof Blitzer, Nipper, Gryffindor, Dobby, and Hedwig.

Edwin Moses, USA (1976, 1984, 1988)

Image via International Olympic Committee

Moses won gold in the 400-meter hurdles in Montreal and Los Angeles, but left his legacy on the Olympics as an administrator: He spearheaded a campaign to institute Olympic athlete subsidies and eligibility reforms that remain in place today, and also helped develop track and field’s anti-drug policies. For the last 15 years, he’s directed the Laureus World Sports Academy, which builds community sports-based development programs in underserved communities around the world.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, USA (1984, 1988, 1992, 1996)

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Despite serious asthma problems, Joyner-Kersee won back-to-back hepathlon golds in Seoul and Barcelona; she still holds the world’s highest all-time score. In retirement, she played in the short-lived American Basketball League, started an athletic resources non-profit in Illinois, and helped found the charity Athletes for Hope. She also is set to be part of the U.S. delegation at Sunday’s closing ceremony.

Carl Lewis, USA (1984, 1988, 1992, 1996)

Image via The University of Houston (cc)

Though haunted by doping allegations reported in 2003, Lewis was America’s greatest male track and field athlete of the last half-century. In his post-sports life, after a failed singing career, he became an actor. In 2011, Lewis tried to run for New Jersey Senate, but was disqualified for not meeting the state’s residency requirement.

Kerri Strug, USA (1992, 1996)

Image via U.S. National Archives

Strug clinched team gold for the Magnificent Seven in Atlanta with her vault routine on an injured ankle—coach Béla Károly famously carried her to the medal stand. After gymnastics, Strug worked in the White House, the Treasury Department, and the Justice Department under George W. Bush. She still runs marathons.

Jenny Thompson, USA (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004)

Image via Team USA

Across four Olympics, Thompson won 12 medals and eight golds, making her one of the most decorated swimmers ever. Two years after the Athens Games, she received her medical degree from Columbia and today works as an anesthesiologist in Maine.

Sports
via Smithfly.com

"Seventy percent of the Earth is covered with water, now you camp on it!" proudly declares Smithfly on the website for its new camping boat — the Shoal Tent.

Why have we waited so long for camping equipment that actually lets us sleep on the water? Because it's an awful idea, that's why.

"The world is your waterbed," Smithfly says on its site. But the big difference is that no one has ever had to worry about falling asleep and then drowning on their waterbed.

RELATED: A ridiculous dad transformed Billie Eilish's 'Bad Guy' into a 3-minute long musical dad joke

While it is possible that one could wade into the water, unzip the tent, have a pleasant slumber, and wake up in the morning feeling safe and refreshed, there are countless things that could go terribly wrong.

The tent could float down the river and you wake up in the middle of nowhere.

You could have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

This guy.

It could spring a leak and you could drown while wrapped up in eight feet of heavy nylon.

A strong current could tip the tent-boat over.

There isn't any way to steer the darn thing.

This guy.

Mashable shared a charming video of the tent on Twitter and it was greeted with a chorus of people sharing the many ways one could die while staying the night in the Shoal Tent.

Oh yeah, it's expensive, too.

Even though the general public seems to think the Shoal Tent is a terrible idea, according to the Smithfly's website, it's currently sold out due to "popular demand" and it will be "available in 6-8 weeks." Oh, and did we mention it costs $1,999?

Lifestyle
via zoezimmm / Imgur

There are few more perniciously dangerous conspiracy theories being shared online than the idea that vaccines cause autism.

This has led to a decline in Americans vaccinating their children, resulting in a massive increase in measles. This year has already seen over 1,200 cases of measles, a disease that was eradicated in the U.S. nearly 20 years ago.

A 2015 Pew Research study found that 83% of Americans think the measles vaccine is safe, while 9% think it's not. Another 7% are not sure. But when you look at the polls that include parents of minors, the numbers get worse, 13% believe that the measles vaccine is unsafe.

There is zero truth to the idea that vaccines cause autism. In fact, a recent study of over 650,000 children found there was no link whatsoever.

RELATED: A new study of over 650,000 children finds — once again — that vaccines don't cause autism

A great example of the lack of critical thinking shown by anti-vaxxers was a recent exchange on Facebook shared to Imgur by zoezimmm.

A parent named Kenleigh at a school in New Mexico shared a photo of a sign at reads: "Children will not be enrolled unless an immunization record is presented and immunizations are up-to-date."

This angered a Facebook user who went on a senseless tirade against vaccinations.

"That's fine, I'll just homeschool my kids," she wrote. At least they won't have to worry about getting shot up in school or being bullied, or being beat up / raped by the teachers!"

To defend her anti-vaccination argument, she used a factually incorrect claim that Amish people don't vaccinate their children. She also incorrectly claimed that the MMR vaccine is ineffective and used anecdotal evidence from her and her father to claim that vaccinations are unnecessary.

She also argued that "every human in the world is entitled to their own opinion." Which is true, but doesn't mean that wildly incorrect assumptions about health should be tolerated.

She concluded her argument with a point that proves she doesn't care about facts: "It doesn't matter what you say is not going to change my mind."

RELATED: 12 medical professionals shared their most memorable anti-vaxxer stories and you won't stop face-palming

While the anti-vaxxer was incorrect in her points, it must also be pointed out that some of the people who argued with her on Facebook were rude. That should never be tolerated in this type of discourse, but unfortunately, that's the world of social media.

Here's the entire exchange:

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The post received a ton of responses on imgur. Here are just a few:

"'In my opinion...' 'I believe...' That's not how facts work."

"You're entitled to your opinion. And everyone else is entitled to call you a dumbass."

"'What I do with my children is no concern to you at all.' Most of the time, true. When your kid might give mine polio, not true."

"If my child can't bring peanut butter, your child shouldn't bring preventable diseases."

It's important to call out people who spread dangerous views, especially how they pertain to health, on social media. But people should do so with respect and civility.

Health

He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. By April 1940, the gates closed on the Lodz Ghetto, the second largest in the country after Warsaw.

Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

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via Imgur

Every few years there's something that goes mega viral because people can't decide what it is.

There was the famous "is it blue and black, or white and gold" dress?

There was the audio recording that said either "yanny" or "Laurel."

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Rochester NY Airport Security passing insulting notes to travelers caught on tape www.youtube.com

Neil Strassner was just passing through airport security, something he does on a weekly basis as part of his job. That's when a contract airport security employee handed him a small piece of folded cardboard. Strassner, 40, took the paper and continued on his way. He only paused when he heard the security employee shouting back at him, "You going to open the note?"

When he unfolded the small piece of paper, Strassner was greeted with an unprompted insult. "You ugly!!!"

According to Strassner, and in newly released CCTV of the incident, the woman who handed him the note began laughing loudly.

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