What the All-Around Gymnastics Gold Medalists of the Past Three Decades Are Up to Now
GABBY DOUGLAS, 2012
Douglas has spent the four years since her all-around win doing much of the same: gymnastics. She took a break from competition post-London, and after a few years of training, returned to the circuit in 2015. She was on the 2015 American World Championships team, and won gold at the competition. And as we all know, she made the 2016 Olympic team, winning gold at the team final earlier this week. She's also set to compete in the uneven bars final in Rio. Outside of gymnastics, she's been the subject of a Lifetime movie, written two books (Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith and Raising the Bar), had a reality show with her family, Douglas Family Gold, and got her own Barbie doll.
NASTIA LIUKIN, 2008
Since collecting her gold, three silver and bronze medals in Beijing in 2008, Team U.S.A.'s Liukin continued on with her gymnastics career for another four years, even attempting to make the team in 2012. After multiple falls at the trials, she did not make the team and retired from gymnastics. In 2010, she established her own gymnastics competition, the Nastia Liukin Cup. Since Beijing, she's made plenty of on-screen appearances, including Stick It, Make It Or Break It, Hellcats and Dancing with the Stars. In 2015, she published her autobiography, Finding My Shine, and is a commentator at this year's Olympic games.
CARLY PATTERSON, 2004
American Patterson ended her career on a high note: She retired in 2006 without ever participating in another competition after the 2004 Athens Olympics. The decision came after dealing with bulging discs in her back and recommendations from her doctor to step away. Since then, she's embarked on a music career, releasing a number of singles and an album, Back to the Beginning, in August 2009. In 2012, she married a strategy consultant, Mark Caldwell. She decided not to go down to Rio this year due to Zika concerns (she and Caldwell are trying to have a child), but is serving as a written correspondent for Team USA's website.
SIMONA AMANAR, 2000
Even if you're a recent gymnastics fan, you've probably heard the Sydney gold medalist's name before. The famed (and incredibly difficult) Amanar vault is named after her, and she was the first person to complete it, at the Sydney Olympics. Amanar was active in competition for seven years before Sydney, so she retired shortly after the Games. She's lived a fairly quiet life since, marrying a lawyer, Cosmin Tabara in 2002, and welcoming a son with him that same year. Though she hasn't competed in 16 years, she's still involved with gymnastics in her home country of Romania: She's the vice president of the Romanian Gymnastics Federation.
LILIA PODKOPAYEVA, 1996
We may remember the Americans as the gymnastics stars of the Atlanta Olympics, but it Ukrainian Podkopayeva was who took home the all-around gold. While she was set to continue competition after Atlanta, even being named to Ukraine's 1997 World Championships team, she had to pull out due to injuries, which eventually led to her retirement. Since then, she's started a gymnastics festival called the Golden Lilia International Festival, for rhythmic and artistic gymnasts, among others. She also won the Ukrainian version of Dancing with the Stars and works as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, dealing with HIV and AIDS. She has two children, Vadim and Karolina, with her ex-husband, Tymofii Nahornyi.
TATIANA GUTSU, 1992
Gutsu's win was clouded with controversy, as she only had a spot in the all-around because team officials forced her teammate, Rozalia Galiyeva, to fake an injury so she could take her place. The two ended up splitting the prize money. Gutsu retired after Barcelona, trying (unsuccessfully) to make a comeback in 2003. Though she won the gold medal for Ukraine in Barcelona, she now lives in the United States and is a U.S. citizen. She even works as a gymnastics coach – a fitting post-Olympic career!
YELENA SHUSHUNOVA, 1988
Shushunova represented the then-Soviet Union in Seoul, winning the gold in both the individual and team competitions. She retired shortly after the Olympics. Today, she still lives in her hometown of Saint Petersburg, and has largely lived a private life after her moment in the gold medal spotlight.
MARY LOU RETTON, 1984
At the Los Angeles games, Retton became the first-ever American woman to win gold in the all-around competition. After retiring from gymnastics in 1985, she attended the University of Texas at Austin became active politically, appearing in ads for the Reagan administration and leading the Pledge of Allegiance at the 2004 Republican National Convention. She's also served as an on-air and written commentator for the 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympics. She married former quarterback Shannon Kelly in 1990, and has four children: McKenna, Shayla, Emma and Skyla.
NADIA COMANECI, 1976
Comaneci gained fame not just for her medals, but for being the first-ever woman to receive a "perfect 10" score in gymnastics – an achievement that now, due to updated scoring methods, is impossible to achieve. In the 1980s, she was closely monitored after her coaches, the now famous Bela and Martha Karyoli, defected from Romania to the United States. Coupled with political unrest in Romania, Comaneci was hardly allowed to leave the country, until she herself defected in 1989. She moved to the United States after meeting her now-husband, fellow gymnast Bart Conner, with whom she has a son, Dylan. She's now a dual citizen of the U.S. and Romania, and has written a book, Letters to a Young Gymnast, been the subject of a made-for-television movie, Nadia, appeared on a season of The Apprentice and acts as the honorary president of the Romanian Gymnastics Federation.