If These 7 Olympians Weren’t Athletes, Here’s What We Imagine They’d Be
After what feels like many, many long years of waiting, the Olympic Games are finally here again, and we couldn’t be more pumped. For two whole weeks, we get to watch and be inspired by the world’s most talented athletes as they join together to compete in Rio de Janeiro.
When the Olympic Games come around every four years (or every two years, really, if you’re a summer/winter equal opportunist), it’s hard not to get become swept up in the excitement from the moment the torch is lit. We become completely captivated by the lives and stories of star athletes as we witness their lifelong dreams come to fruition. It's no wonder that many of the competitors often say they first envisioned themselves as Olympians when they were watching the Games themselves as youngsters.
Since we're already so fascinated by Olympians and what drives them, we thought it'd be fun to consider what some would do had they not become competitive athletes. In the spirit of "What If?" and our partnership with Jif®, we imagined our heroes in some sort of alternate reality with alternate careers.
Read on, but keep in mind that we just used what we know about each person and let our imaginations run wild! (Meaning our hunches have not been confirmed by the athletes themselves... yet.)
Melissa Stockwell, Motivational Speaker
It’s hard to listen to Melissa Stockwell speak and not be struck by her inspiring positivity. As a 24-year-old Army lieutenant in Iraq, Stockwell lost her leg when a roadside bomb went off near her. Despite the trauma, Melissa genuinely feels happy, fulfilled, and fortunate that the events in her life have led to her being a star triathlete. 2016 is a big year for Stockwell, as it marks the first time the Paratriathlon will be held at the Games. (She previously competed in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics as a swimmer.)
Because of her infectious attitude and proven leadership skills, we like to envision Stockwell as a motivational speaker. Just reading through an interview with Melissa Stockwell is enough to get us up and out to live our best lives. Could you imagine being in an actual room with her talking? Seeing as she led a convoy through Baghdad, she could certainly command an audience.
Ali Krieger, Creative Director
Ali Krieger may have a World Cup Championship under her belt, but this year marks the first time she’ll be playing in the Olympics, since a knee injury held her back from qualifying in 2012. And it’s about time! We can't wait to see the 31-year-old defender in action in Rio.
What would Krieger be doing is she weren’t a star soccer player? Well it turns out, she went to school for graphic design. (Penn State, where she played for the Nittany Lions!) We’re imagining Krieger as a creative director for one of the big advertising agencies. Not only does she know how to win big, but she also knows how to play well with others.
Allyson Felix, Elementary School Teacher
Star sprinter Allyson Felix is back in the Olympic Games this year, with the chance at winning gold in both the 200 meters and 400 meters, and becoming the first woman to do so since 1996. We can't wait to cheer from her from afar.
Interestingly enough, Felix didn’t even consider running as a viable career option until she began track as a high school freshman and fully realized her talent. In fact, she grew up wanting to be a teacher. We like picturing her as an elementary school teacher because she has a kind demeanor and a can-do attitude that would surely motivate young minds.
Conor Dwyer, General Manager Of A Professional Basketball Team
As a member of the gold-medal-winning 800m relay in London, it’s safe to say that Conor Dwyer has the whole competitive swimming thing down. But hey, what if?
Dwyer studied sports management at the University of Florida, and he's even said that he could see himself working with a professional sports team at some point. He also grew up in Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago, and allegedly has “mad basketball skills.” So we’re making him the manager of a pro basketball team.
Aly Raisman, Business Owner
Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman has understood intense schedules and time management since a very young age. It’s par for the course in a physically demanding sport like gymnastics, which requires serious athletes to train for hours a day.
Because she clearly has a dedicated work ethic and is accustomed to working six days a week at sometimes-odd hours (early morning, after school), we can totally see Raisman running a business. Since she played lots of sports as a kid and already has her own sock and leotard lines, we see Raisman as owning her own company, probably with a focus on fashion. Of course, it would be a well-run, super-reputable company that would carry only the best equipment and apparel for a variety of age groups.
Shawn Johnson, Sports Therapist
Shawn Johnson won us over in 2008 with her a gold medal win in Beijing for gymnastics. She’s kept busy since then, winning Dancing with the Stars in 2009. (One has to assume that the floor routine silver medalist can wow on the dance floor as well!) In 2012, Johnson announced her retirement from gymnastics, and has since then picked up her education at Vanderbilt University to earn her Bachelor’s degree.
Currently in school, Johnson is studying sports psychology and dietetics. Because of her academic focus and role model status, we picture her as a sports therapist, specializing in nutrition among young female athletes. The cool thing about imagining this career for Johnson is that it might not only exist in our little alternate universe — she’s already on the road to the next chapter as we speak!
April Ross, Park Ranger
To be a beach volleyball player, you have to really love the outdoors. That seems like a given for the Olympic Games, but if you think about it, many of these events are performed indoors (basketball, gymnastics, swimming). Not beach volleyball.
Olympic beach volleyball player April Ross is the outdoorsy type, for sure. A USC alum and current California resident, Ross loves doing anything outdoors, from camping to biking to stand-up paddle boarding. For this reason, along with her obvious physical fitness, we love picturing her as a park ranger somewhere on the West Coast, like Yosemite — one of her favorite national parks.
This post is sponsored by Jif® , proud sponsor of Team U.S.A.