Life after sport doesn’t have to be predictable or conventional, as these athletes proved with their idiosyncratic choice of new jobs
An accomplished canoeist, the Japanese finished ninth in the K1 kayak slalom in 2012 in London. When he returned home after the Games, however, he headed to the Zenkoji Daikanjin Temple in Nagano to train as a Buddhist priest.
The winner of a gold medal as part of the USA women’s basketball team at the 2000 Games in Sydney, the former WNBA star eventually turned her back on the court to become a mental health advocate, setting up the ‘Chamique Holdsclaw Foundation’.
The Canadian claimed bronze in the decathlon at the 1988 Olympics staged in Seoul, but when the rigours of athletics’ toughest multidiscipline event began to take their toll, he put his physical attributes to good use and retrained as a fire fighter.
Pendleton won two track cycling gold medals for Great Britain during her Olympic career, but in 2015 announced she was swapping saddles to become a professional jockey – her maiden victory coming on a horse called ‘Pacha Du Polder’ in March 2016.
Willie de Wit
As a heavyweight boxer, de Wit was used to throwing punches – winning silver at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984 – but the Canadian went on to land knockout blows of an altogether different kind in his second career as a criminal defence lawyer in Calgary.
The Frenchman was a gold medallist in the freestyle skiing event at the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, but life after the slopes saw Becker become a circus master – or, more accurately, the creative director for the acclaimed Cirque du Soleil.
Cummings swam for the USA at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, but once she quit the pool she enjoyed a new career as an acclaimed aviator and pilot tutor and was inducted into the American National Flight Instructors Hall of Fame in 2000.
The Australian swimmer went to three Olympic Games, winning gold medals in the 4×100 metre freestyle and 4×200 metre freestyle in Sydney in 2000, and is now a successful entrepreneur having developed and launched a hugely popular range of men’s skincare products.