When I think about the Olympics I don't think about the grandeur of the competitions, the feeling of global community, the individual stories of the athletes, or the mesmerizing synchronized swimming routines. The one thing that comes to mind when I think about the Olympics: anonymity. Out of the thousands of athletes that compete in these games many fade into the daily routine of their countries once the Closing Ceremony is completed.
Yet, there are a handful, particularly the up-and-coming stars of each Olympic games, that remain in the spotlight well after the torch has been extinguished. Some continue into the professional sports realm, others become "experts" in their field, and some jump into another profession altogether. Then there are those who enjoy the television spotlight so much that they remain in the medium in one capacity or another.
Sometimes it's as themselves on other television properties. Other times they dabble into the acting field with mixed results. Here are seven Olympic athletes who continued their careers on television in one form or another.
Then with Commander in Chief on ABC, he made Geena Davis the President and actually showed her in action -- until the show was canceled.
Lurie's working on another female-driven drama now for Showtime, but this time it's not about politics. Hillary Jones is the name of the show and the character, a police detective working vice in Los Angeles during the week, but moonlighting as a hooker in Nevada during the weekend.
She's not breaking the law, though, because prostitution -- as you and I know from the movies -- is legal there.
The producers expect the show to move to another network, which means that somehow boxing is still considered by someone as a viable form of entertainment. I mean, I know we're in a recession and all, but did the whole world get transported back to 1932, Island in the Sea of Time style when I wasn't looking?
The best part about the show's continued existence is that Greg Giraldo can continue performing his classic stand-up bit: "There's a new reality show out there now in which they get together a bunch of boxers and try to find the best one. Remember the show they used to have where they tried to do that? Yeah, it was called Boxing."
You probably thought that The Contender had disappeared from the television galaxy after its one and only season on NBC, didn't you? Well, you'd be utterly wrong. The fact of the matter is that the boxing reality show has been a quiet success on ESPN. So much so, that it has been renewed for a third season.
To refresh your memory The Contender, which is hosted by boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, features 16 fighters that compete for the Contender championship and the share of a seven-figure purse. The season two finale of the show drew 2.3 million viewers and was ESPN's top-rated boxing telecast in nine years.
In the third season, which will premiere on September 4th at 10 pm, look for a new weight class, new trainers, and a bigger purse. In addition, viewers will be able to see unedited versions of each week's episode-ending bout on ESPN2.
On top of that, the format of the show changed. Before, each week there was a competition. The winning team got to pick the fight for the week. This season, the team of the winner from the previous fight picked the next one. That left a big chunk of time to fill in each episode. That wasn't automatically bad, but the way they chose to fill it wasn't the best. From the episodes I saw, which was probably three quarters of them, more often than not a lot of that time went to showing us the same story for each fighter. Doing it for his family. Rough past. Orchestral music swelling. It got a little tedious.
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