Mia Hamm. Shannon Miller. Michael Jordan. They've written books, appeared on TV shows and some have even earned acclaim for coaching young athletes to achieve similar success. Whose career has stayed strongest by your standards?
Mary Lou Retton catapulted — literally — to international fame when she won the All Around Gold Medal in women's gymnastics at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. She was the first American woman to ever win gymnastics gold and won five medals total, the most for any athlete that year. She retired from competitive gymnastics in 1986.
Retton married Shannon Kelley in 1990 and they're raising four daughters — Shayla Rae, 21, McKenna Lane, 19, Skyla Brae, 15, and Emma Jean, 14 — in Houston, Texas. She works as a motivational speaker and has been a frequent Olympic commentator and reporter. Fun fact: Mary Lou (pictured at the 2014 Golden Globe Awards) has appeared in movies Scrooged and Naked Gun 33 1/3 and television shows including Guiding Light and Baywatch.
Carl Lewis competed in four Olympics — 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996 — earning nine gold medals. He won the long jump as well as the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.
He's served as the Goodwill Ambassador for the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization, launched a fitness Web site, attempted to run for the New Jersey state senate in 2011 and made numerous TV and film appearances. He now coaches at the University of Houston.
One of the best women's soccer players in history, Mia Hamm had a club foot that required corrective shoes as a child. But by age 15, she became the youngest player to join the U.S. women's national soccer team. She went on to lead the U.S. team to two World Cup victories in 1991 and 1999 and two gold medals — defeating China in Atlanta in 1996 and then beating Brazil in 2004 in Athens.
Retired in 2004, the 44-year-old is married to retired baseball all-star Nomar Garciaparra. They have twin girls, Grace and Ava, 9, and son Garrett, 4. "Life off the field has been just as demanding and hectic as training for the Olympics or world titles," Hamm . She also runs the Mia Hamm Foundation, which supports organized sports for girls and helps families in need of bone marrow and cord blood transplants. And she's co-owner of the forthcoming Los Angeles Football Club team.
In the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, the nation was spellbound by Jenner's record-setting victory in the decathlon. "I went into that competition knowing that would be the last time I would ever do this," Jenner said after the games. "It hurts every day when you practice hard. Plus, when this decathlon is over, I got the rest of my life to recuperate. Who cares how bad it hurts?"
After the Olympics, Jenner was drafted into the NBA, appeared in a disco movie, pursued an auto-racing career and starred with then-wife Kris Jenner on reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Then in an April 2015 with Diane Sawyer, she came out as a transgender woman. Since then, Jenner has been honored with a GLAAD Award, graced the cover of Vanity Fair and been named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People.
Michael Phelps has appeared at the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics. In 2012 in London, the swimmer secured his place as the most decorated Olympian of all time with a record-breaking 22nd medal. He also has a record 18 golds — 8 of which are from 2008 in Beijing, the most golds won by an individual in a single Olympics.
Phelps, 31, came out of retirement in April 2014 and is set to compete again this summer in Rio. (He's the first male swimmer to qualify for five Olympics!) He's also engaged to former Miss California, Nicole Johnson — and they have a 2-month-old son, Boomer. "The little man loved the water today! Boomer and I got some extra laps in," he with his son on July 6.
Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci was only 14 when she performed at the 1976 Olympics. She captured four Olympic gold medals in her career and was the first female gymnast to score a perfect 10.
After defecting in 1989, Nadia Comaneci has stayed in the public eye, providing television commentary for gymnastics events and appearing in several commercials. She married American gymnast Bart Johnson, and they have a son, Dylan, 10. In 2008, Comaneci (pictured at a February 2016 movie premiere) appeared on Celebrity Apprentice — and was fired by Donald Trump because he said she lacked competitive spirit.
In 1996, Michael Johnson became the first man ever to win both the 200m and 400m races in the same Olympics — wearing his signature golden Nike spikes, of course. He also set a 400m record that still stands. "I'm extremely proud of that moment," he . "I had the confidence to go out there and lay it all on the line and attempt to make history and accomplish it and do it. To be successful is a great, great sense of pride." In 2000, at his third Olympics, he won another gold in the 400m at age 33.
Today, Johnson lives in the San Francisco area with his wife, chef Armine Shamiryan, and his son Sebastian, 16. The sprinter works as a correspondent for the BBC and runs an athletic performance center in Dallas.
The diver won silver in the 1976 Olympics but then was forced to boycott the 1980 Games. At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Louganis won gold medals in both the springboard and tower diving events. Then, in the 1988 Seoul Games, he suffered a concussion when his head struck the springboard during preliminary rounds. He came back to repeat his double-gold feat, earning the title of ABC's Wide World of Sports "Athlete of the Year."
In 1995, Greg Louganis wrote the groundbreaking memoir Breaking the Surface, in which he revealed he was diagnosed with HIV six months before the Seoul Games. Today, he lives with his husband in Beverly Hills. He competes with dog-agility events, is the subject of a feature-length documentary film, and this summer, at 56, in the ESPN Body Issue.
Voted "the greatest female athlete of the twentieth century" by Sports Illustrated, Jackie Joyner-Kersee competed in the heptathlon and long jump at the 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympics. She won three gold, one silver and two bronze Olympic medals.
After a brief stint in professional basketball, the Olympian co-authored a memoir and started a youth center in her hometown of East St. Louis, Illinois. She married her former coach, Bobby Kersee, in 1986. Today, she focuses on philanthropy, public speaking and serving on the U.S.A. Track & Field's board of directors.
At the Barcelona Games in 1992, gymnast Shannon Miller was the most successful American athlete by medal count, winning five. In 1996, Miller and the rest of the "Magnificent Seven" — Dominique Dawes, Dominique Moceanu, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden, Jaycie Phelps and Kerri Strug — became the first U.S. women's gymnastics team to win Olympic gold. In Atlanta, she won gold in the balance beam competition to help the U.S. claim the team title.
"In some ways, it feels like yesterday,'' Miller . "You close your eyes and you can smell the sweat and the chalk of the arena. But in other ways, it seems like a lifetime ago."
Shannon Miller graduated from Boston College Law School in 2007. She and husband John Falconetti are parents to son Rocco, 6, and daughter Sterling, 3. "I'm doing great,'' Miller, an ovarian cancer survivor, . "We celebrate the 20th anniversary of the '96 Olympic team, but I just celebrated five years cancer free, so I'm very blessed, very fortunate."
Women's beach volleyball partners Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor took home the gold medal in 2004, 2008 and 2012.
After the London Games, Misty May-Treanor retired from volleyball. She lives in Coral Springs, Florida, with husband Matt Treanor, a former baseball player, and their 2-year-old daughter, Malia. May-Treanor (pictured at a Team USA event in Chicago on July 8) also recently completed her master's degree in coaching and athletic administration from Concordia University in Irvine, California. Kerri Walsh Jennings (pictured on June 19 in New York City) was five-weeks pregnant at the London Olympics with her daughter, Scout, now 3. She's married to pro beach-volleyball player Casey Jennings, and they also have two sons: Joseph, 7, and Sundance, 6. She also found a new partner, April Ross, and has broken the record for most wins by a female professional volleyball player at 113.
At the Beijing Games in 2008, Dara Torres became the oldest swimmer to have ever competed in the Olympics. (She was 41 years old at the time.) Despite the odds, Torres took home three silver medals for the 4x100m freestyle relay, 50m freestyle and 4x100m medley relay. She added the silvers to her collection from the 1984, 1988, 1992 and 2000 Olympics. In total, Torres has won an impressive 12 medals in her Olympic career.
In 2009, Torres became a best-selling author with her motivational memoir, . Then, in 2012, she tried out for the Olympics one last time. She failed to qualify, but that didn't make her efforts any less inspiring for older athletes around the world. "Being 45, getting fourth in Olympic trials against girls almost half my age, it's okay," she after the trials. "I didn't quite do it, but I'm really happy with how I did. I was able to hang in there." Today, Torres lives with her partner, reproductive endocrinologist David Hoffman, and their daughter Tessa, 10, in Massachusetts.
Basketball star Lisa Leslie took her game to the Olympic courts in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008, becoming the first female basketball player to win four consecutive gold medals. Her first gold came at a historic moment for women's basketball, as the WNBA was also started in 1996. "The '96 Games were the best time I ever had in basketball and the most important," she said in a recent . "Not only was it my first Olympics, but it proved that women's basketball could be played on a higher level than college."
Leslie, who was perhaps most well-known for being the first player to dunk in a WNBA game, retired from basketball at the end of the 2009 season. She's also dabbled in modeling, acting, commentating and even investing — the former Los Angeles Sparks player was a minority owner of the team from 2011 until 2014. Today, Leslie and her husband, pilot Michael Lockwood, live with their daughter, Lauren, 9, and son, Michael, 6.
"Sugar" Ray Leonard's fight for the 1976 Olympic Bo gold medal was arguably one of his most iconic fights ever. Matched against Cuba's Andres Aldama, a fighter with a vicious left hook, then-amateur Leonard won the fight 5-0 and took home the gold.
After the Olympics, Leonard, now 60, went on to become a professional boxer and win many national and international titles. Since then, he has worked as a bo analyst for a number of major networks, appeared on Season 12 of Dancing With the Stars and wrote a memoir titled The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring. A passionate advocate for diabetes awareness, Leonard also started the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation in support of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes research. He lives in southern California with his wife, Bernadette.
In 2004's Athens Games, Carly Patterson became the first gymnast to win the All Around Gold Medal since Mary Lou Retton 20 years prior. The Athens Games were Patterson's first and only Olympics.
Shortly after the 2004 Olympics, an injured back forced Patterson to retire from gymnastics early. Since then, she's earned a general degree with a minor in communications at Texas Woman's University, recorded original music and became a motivational speaker. Now 28, she lives in Texas with her husband, Mark Caldwell.