America at work
The Olympic Athletes Who Compete in the Entrepreneurial Arena, Too
Erica Roberts | August 12, 2016

As the 2016 Summer Olympics kick into full gear in Rio, we’re taking a look at athletes who compete in both the business arena and on the greatest stage in sports. Here are some of the notable Olympians who have also found success as entrepreneurs:

George Foreman

As a boxer in the 1968 Summer Olympics, George Foreman won gold and went on to cement his legacy as a two-time winner of the world heavyweight championship. Later, as a businessman, he became the spokesperson for Salton, Inc. and launched the George Foreman Grill, selling over 100 million units in a little more than 15 years. Last year, Foreman launched his own meat business as well, George Foreman’s Butcher Shop. In addition to the titles of Olympic gold medalist and entrepreneur, Foreman is also an author and an ordained minister.

Maria Sharapova

Former Olympian and silver medalist (in women’s singles tennis) Maria Sharapova launched her business career in 2013 with her own high end candy line, Sugarpova. A portion of the proceeds of this business go to the Maria Sharapova Foundation, which helps children around the world achieve their dreams. The world renowned tennis champ also has a lengthy list of business and endorsement deals with the likes of Nike, Gatorade and Porsche.

Michelle Roark

After competing for Team USA in both the 2006 and 2010 winter Olympics, Michelle Roark decided to focus on her perfume company, Phia Labs. Designed to capture nature’s energy into a scent, Phia is an innovative company that hand-mixes ingredients in order to channel nature’s energy. The company’s top goal is to inspire and empower through hair and body products, an ambition that Roark attributes to her success as a ski and snowboard champion.

Shannon Bahrke

After winning a silver medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics, Shannon Bahrke turned her attention to business. Her company, Silver Bean Coffee Co., was born out of Bahrke’s desire to find the best coffee and help Team USA athletes along the way. Silver Bean Coffee Co. has named different blends after various Team USA Olympic skiers, including Andy Newell and Billy Demon. For every bag sold, one dollar is contributed to an athlete and a charity that the bag’s namesake has chosen — a perfect blend of good coffee and philanthropy.

Serena and Venus Williams

These decorated Tennis champions – both Olympic Gold Medalists and Grand Slam winners – are headed to Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics. They’re both major business successes, as well.

Both Williams sisters have numerous endorsement contracts from companies like Beats, Delta Airlines, and Kraft. In addition, Venus Williams has used her industry know-how to launch her own athletic clothing line, ELEVEN. The line was launched this year, with Williams taking a hands-on role in the firm’s design and production processes. Both sisters also own a stake in the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.