Tossing a javelin around won't pay the rent—at least not for most Olympians. To keep themselves in talcum powder and Ben Gay, and to earn an honest living, the athletes competing in this year's games have had to take a wide variety of jobs, ranging from the grubby (garbage collector, janitor) to the staid (accountant) to the exotic (motion designer, monk).
Some Olympians say the persistence and discipline learned in the pool or on the playing field have served them well in the workplace: U.S. water polo player Peter Hudnut had to survive 28 interviews in order to land a finance job at Goldman Sachs, says Bloomberg News. After the games wrap up on Aug. 12, he will join Goldman's private wealth management division. Hudnut tells Bloomberg, "All the things I've learned in water polo are very applicable in finance" (especially when your customer is underwater). To learn more about Hudnut's day job and those of 6 other Olympians, read on.
|Peter Hudnut, USA: Water Polo|
Hudnut, 32, thanks a series of sports injuries for having put him on the sidelines long enough to serve internships at Bank of New York, CIM Group and elsewhere in the corporate world. These—plus the discipline and determination he's learned as an athlete—have helped him land a finance job at Goldman Sachs, which he'll start after the Olympics end Aug. 12, he tells Bloomberg News.
|Urige Buta, Norway: Marathon|
To escape Norway's brutal winters, this native of Ethiopia trained underground, in sewage tunnels. Yahoo Sports says that to earn a living he now cleans offices and school rooms, training on his shift breaks. A facilities management company has offered him paid leave, so he can devote more time to training.
|Lance Brooks, USA: Discus|
Runners can land valuable endorsement deals. Discus throwers, not so much. Most need to toil outside of sports to earn their keep. Brooks, 28, has been a jack of all trades, working jobs in construction, retail and hospitality (he's been a bartender and a bouncer). It was while bartending that he met his coach-to-be, according to Yahoo Sports. He tells ESPN that his post-London ambition is to find a career: "Throwing has been great for me. But when it comes down to it, I want to find something I can retire on."
|Kenki Sato, Japan: Equestrian|
When not in the saddle, Sato, a Buddhist monk, sits and meditates. And boy, does he ever—sometimes for upwards of 19 hours a day, he tells the Associated Press. He does it at his family's Nagano temple near the site of the 1998 winter games. He says his religious discipline helps him when he's riding: "Before the competition starts," he tells the AP, "I concentrate. I'm behaving more like a monk."
|Gwen Jorgensen, USA: Triathlon|
After the Olympics, Jorgensen, 26, tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune she plans to return to her job as an accountant at Ernst & Young in Milwaukee. Though she worked full-time at the start of her career as a triathlete, E&Y allowed her to scale back her office time as she became more proficient, she says. Her co-workers decorated her desk with Olympic paraphernalia, says the Tribune, when she qualified for the London games.
|Chas Betts, USA: Wrestling|
The 25-year old has a website showcasing his animation projects, which include ones for USA Wrestling and for…uh…the powdered-tobacco product Camel Snus (tagline: 'Taste Victory'). Potential employers will discover Betts to be a young man unconstrained by political correctness. Of Greco-Roman wrestling his blog says: "The sport can still be very beautiful, if we cut out some of the bullcrap."
|Natasha Perdue, UK: Weightlifting|
Perdue's sport used to be karate, but she switched to weightlifting following the death of her father, who had been a lifter. "I would love him to be here [in London]," she told BBC Wales Sport, "just to see what he would say to me." When not hefting weights, the 36-year old hoists cans, in her capacity as a garbage collector for the refuse department of the city of Leeds, according to Yahoo Sports.