From the Olympics to the Multiplex

What does an athlete do after the Olympics are over? They become movie stars…or at least try.

2016 Summer Olympics Wrapup

Kurt Thomas…

competed in gymnastics, a sport for which the Olympics are the epitome. After winning multiple medals at the World Championships in 1978 and 1979, Thomas was primed for Olympic gold…but didn’t get the chance. The U.S. boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics because they were being held in Moscow. To wait for the 1984 Olympics would’ve put Thomas at age 28—a bit too old for a gymnast. So, he went into acting instead. He starred in the 1985 Cold War action movie Gymkata. A classic “bad movie,” Thomas plays Jonathan Cabot, an athlete sent by the American government to compete in an Eastern European nation’s bloodsport called “The Game.” If he wins, the U.S. can put a satellite monitoring system in the country. (Thomas wins, as all of the trees and rocks he has to onto and off of to escape bad guys look an awful lot like gymnastics equipment.) Along with Gymkata, Thomas also starred on the 1985-87 soap opera True Confessions.

Bruce Jenner…

In 1976, Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn Jenner) won the decathlon in the Summer Olympics, and became an overnight superstar. Jenner fielded all kinds of offers in the world of entertainment, ultimately becoming a cast member on CHiPs and co-starring in the Village People’s musical Can’t Stop the Music. That movie was such a flop that inspired the “Golden Raspberry Awards,” (or Razzies), the Oscars of bad movies. But Jenner just made some bad choices: The Olympian had at once point been offered the lead in Superman.

Johnny Weismuller…

is probably better known for his film career than he is for the athletic success that led to his film career. Weismuller played the iconic role of Tarzan in 12 movies in the 1930s and 1940s. But in the decade before that, he was among the fastest and most accomplished swimmers on earth. He won more than 50 events at the U.S. National Championships, as well as five Olympic gold medals in swimming…and a bronze one as a member of the U.S. water polo team.