Olympic Medalists With Significant Showbiz Careers


Some of these people are famous for their showbiz careers that you’d forget they are actually Olympic medalists! We list down a few of them:

Before her much-publicized gender transition, Caitlyn Jenner was once Bruce Jenner, an Olympic gold medalist in 1975 and 1976 both in decathlon division.

She starred in the films Can’t Stop the Music (1980) and Jack and Jill (2011), but she magnified her fame in the reality television series Keeping Up with the Kardashians with her now ex-wife Kris Jenner, their daughters Kylie and Kendall Jenner, and her stepchildren Kim, Khloe, Kourtney and Rob Kardashian.

Jenner made big headlines in 2015 when she came out as a trans-woman and officially declared her name change from Bruce to Caitlyn in the cover story of Vanity Fair. She went on to star in her own reality TV series I Am Cait.

A lot of people may remember Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan more than for his illustrious Olympic career, where he won five medals in men’s swimming alone. He appeared in his first Tarzan film, Tarzan the Ape Man, in 1932, opposite actress Maureen O’Sullivan. He went on to star in 11 more Tarzan movies.

Dozens of actors after him have also played the role, but Weissmuller is the most famously known cinematic Tarzan, so far. And who can ever forget his iconic Tarzan yodel?

Madison, who set sixteen world records from 1930 to 1931 and went on to win three gold medals in the 1932 Summer Olympics, also had a brief acting stint. She starred in a couple of films such as The Human Fish and The Warrior’s Husband. Unfortunately, her performance went unnoticed and she never acted again.

Born Clarence Linden Crabbe II, Buster Crabbe won a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle in the 1932 Summer Olympics. Soon after that he embarked a Hollywood career which became successful. Like Weissmuller, Crabbe also starred as Tarzan and other typical “jungle man” roles. But his most memorable film role is that of Flash Gordon in the Flash Gordon film serial.

Regarded as one of the finest figure skaters in history, Henie won three gold medals in 1928, 1932 and 1936 Winter Olympics. The Norwegian beauty starred in her first Hollywood film, One in a Million (1936), which became a box-office hit. Nine more films followed.

Henie also embarked several ice skating tours such as Holiday On Ice, and enjoyed lucrative endorsement deals. In other words, her showbiz career brought her great financial success.

Heiss won the bronze medal in the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy, and  gold in the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California, USA.

Following her retirement from active sport in 1960 Heiss starred in her one and only movie, Snow White and the Three Stoooges (1961). Although the film was harshly criticized and did poorly at the box office, Heiss was otherwise praised for her acting and singing abilities, and of course, for her skating.

Sakata won a silver medal in the 1948 London Olympics, in the light-heavyweight division. After his Olympic stint, Sakata pursued a successful wrestling career and proceeded to acting. He starred in more than a dozen films, but his first film role as James Bond’s nemesis as Oddjob in Goldfinger (1964) brought him international stardom.

The French alpine ski racer won three gold medals in the 1968 Winter Olympics in downhill, giant slalom and slalom divisions. He also won multiple gold medals in the Alpine Ski World Cup, demonstrating his dominance in the sport.

Killy starred in his only movie Snow Job (1972), where he played as a con man/ski instructor. In addition, he appeared in two television series, and was also an endorser for several brands such as American Express, Chevrolet and United Airlines.

This boxer from Brooklyn, New York won gold medals in the 1982 and 1984 Summer Olympics, both in welterweight division.

Breland played as a black cadet Tom Pearce in the movie The Lords of Discipline (1983). His role there earned critical praise.

Two Olympians Glenn Morris and Eleanor Holm starred together in Tarzan’s Revenge (1938). Critics described Holm as “bored” throughout the movie, while they singled out Morris’ performance as “listless.” While Holm never acted again, Morris went on to star in another film Hold That Co-Ed (1938) before quitting show business for good.


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