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What happens when Olympic athletes retire?

Some Olympic athletes use their fame to become TV personalities. Some get jobs in the sports industry. And some go on to run their own businesses. Here are just a few.

Usain Bolt

Following his unrivalled prowess in Rio the world’s fastest man is already a highly successful (and very rich) businessman thanks to lucrative international deals with Puma, Nissan, Hublot, Visa, Virgin Media, All Nippon Airways, Optus Enertor.

Bolt has said Rio will be his last Olympics, but even so, the range of endorsements is unlikely to dry up in the near future and in any case he’s got a few other revenue streams in his pocket, including his online sportwear store and the recently launched Champion Shave, which sells 6-blade razors.


Caitlyn Jenner

Before she was Caitlyn, Jenner was of course a decathlete from Mount Kisco, New York, named Bruce. After winning gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Jenner became a media personality, appearing in films and on TV as well as various professional endorsements, such as Bruce Jenner’s Westwood Centers for Nautilus & Aerobics in the early 1980s.

But there has also been involvement in several businesses, including Bruce Jenner Aviation, selling aircraft supplies to executives and corporations, and staffing industry software company JennerNet, all helping towards a multi million dollar fortune.


Sally Gunnel

She won gold in the 400m hurdles at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics (not to mention being the only female British athlete to have won Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth titles) and she’s been extremely busy ever since.

As well as TV appearances and motivational speaking gigs, she also heads up Sally Gunnell’s Corporate Wellbeing, which advises corporations on workplace interventions to improve employees’ health and wellbeing. The organisation claims that with 26 million days lost last year to work-related illness or injuries at a cost of £17bn to the UK economy, it offers an opportunity for companies to ‘invest in the future of their workforce’.


Tanni Grey-Thompson

Now a baroness, the eleven-time gold-winning (plus four silver and a bronze) wheelchair racer made her last Paralympics appearance in Barcelona in 1992. Since then she’s had numerous TV appearances and was made a Life Peer in 2010. She also has a successful career in motivational speaking and business coaching, drawing on her political, business, sporting and personal experiences to help illustrate the benefits of planning for success, team work, success and failure, forward-vision and aspiration.


Linford Christie

The legendary sprinter remains the only British man to win 100 metres gold at all four major competitions: Olympics, World Championships, European Championships and Commonwealth Games. Since he retired he’s had many TV appearances and been involved in a range of businesses including sports personality and consultancy agency Nuff Respect.


Chris Hoy

With six Olympic golds and a silver to his name, Sir Chris Hoy is Britain’s most-decorated Olympic athlete (and the second most decorated Olympic cyclist ever). He has since lent his name to HOY Bikes, his range of two-wheelers in association with Evans Cycles and has turned his hand to motor racing, making his debut in the Le Mans 24 Hour race earlier this year.


Jesse Owens

Owens won four gold medals (for the long jump, 100 metres, 200 metres, and a relay) as well as poking the Fuhrer in the eye at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Afterwards, things didn’t go quite so well for a time. Stripped of his amateur status after taking up some commercial offers, including competing against a racehorse (he won, along with $2,000). He also opened a dry-cleaning business though it soon failed and he worked as a petrol pump attendant for a while to pay the rent.

Later however he became a US goodwill ambassador and spent a lot of his time working with charity groups and serving as an inspiration to millions.


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