Let the games begin!

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Do you hear something? It’s the sound of proud citizens around the globe puffing their chests as athletes from their nation head to the Olympics. *hums national anthem*

Every two years, either the summer or winter games dominate our TV viewing for two weeks. Events we wouldn’t normally give two hoots about suddenly must be recorded. I admit, I only think about the biathlon every 206 weeks. Still, billions of people tune into the games every time they air. You don’t go out as much. You ignore the ringing phone. You pretend a foil-covered Ring Ding is a silver medal in bobsledding. (No? Just me?)

Host cities pour unbelievable amounts of money and energy into readying venues and lodging for the games. As a result, each city — this year Vancouver — experiences a temporary boost in jobs to construct and staff new stadiums and housing. London’s already seeing this happen for its 2012 games. And other existing jobs are put into overdrive as the city becomes the momentary center of the athletic world. For example, Ron Cameron is the general manager of BC Place, the stadium hosting the opening ceremonies. Read about his job here.

Because I have the games on my mind, I did a little digging to see how some past Olympians are earning paychecks now that they don’t have to devote 80 percent of their waking hours to training. As expected, many finish their educations and start families — especially when you remember that many Olympians are teenagers during competition. So here are a few medalists and where they are today.

Beth Barr
Event: 4x100m Medley Relay
Year: 1988
Medal: Silver
Current occupation: Owner of a training center for swimmers and triathletes
Source: NPR

Carly Patterson
Event: Women’s Individual All-Around gymnastics
Year: 2004
Medal: Gold
Current occupation: Singer
Source: Her own site

Dan O’Brien
Event: Decathlon
Year: 1996
Medal: Gold
Current occupation: Motivational speaker
Source: Forbes

Jair Lynch
Event: Parallel bars
Year: 1996
Medal: Silver
Current occupation: Heads an organization that, according to its Web site, “specializes in the responsible transformation of urban markets.”
Source: NPR

Peggy Fleming
Event: Figure skating
Year: 1968
Medal: Gold
Current occupation: Breast cancer activist and co-owner of a vineyard and winery
Source: WKYC

As always, good luck to all the Olympians (who are probably too busy to read this blog, but still) and have fun watching!

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  2. This is ridiculous. Could they find a worse cross section of athletes. All their occupations are related to their success. Either directly or though their increased fame. How about a few athletes that are in more unrelated fields. How about a few bronze medalist who went on to achieve great things. Way to provide us with no information and still get your name out there Anthony. Great job glad to hear gold medalist do what I think use their fame to make themselves successful.

  3. Not a previous, but current competitor Kim Yu-Na, Gold Medalist in Women
    s Figure Skating, was being highlighted in the skating coverage and it was surprising to hear that she has a CURRENT income of $7-8 million a year. And it was noted that she has donated some $100,000 this last year to a sports related activity.

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