By Mike Gustafson//Correspondent
The immediate period after the Olympics is like that three-month summer after graduating college. For those few brief months, the slate is clean. The schedule is completely open. Some Olympians go right to work. Some take long, extended vacations. Some go on talk show tours, attend swim clinics, speak at charity functions, visit local swim clubs, or give back to the sport of swimming. Some star in “Funny or Die” videos about peeing in pools.
The Minneapolis Grand Prix is still two months away. Which means many Olympians are just recently getting back into the swing of things -- training, running, swimming, flipping, butterflying. But others have been doing pretty interesting and fun things around the community. Let’s take a look at what some Olympians have been up to since the London Closing Ceremonies….
Michael Phelps wins the “Biggest Impact Post-Olympics” award, even though he’s retired from swimming. While he Tweeted a few great photographs of taking a long extended vacation with his friends in the Maldives, now, he’s making more headlines for winning the Boys and Girls Club “2012 Champion of Youth” award with his Michael Phelps Foundation. His water safety program, Im, was started at numerous Boys and Girls Clubs by his Foundation. The program has taught over 3,000 kids how to swim – a fantastic feat. The program continues to teach kids how to swim at Boys and Girls Clubs around the country. Kudos to Mr. Phelps for continuing to give back to the sport.
Natalie Coughlin wins the award for “Coolest Post-Olympic Pictures.” Specifically, her pictures swimming with Great White Sharks. You’d half-expect Olympic legendary swimmers to do something adventurous like this. But her photographs are just incredible. She posted a few on her Twitter page… You have to see it to believe it.
Missy Franklin has had probably the most fun summer/fall for a high schooler ever. She’s been everywhere: throwing pitches for the Colorado Rockies, walking the red carpet at the VMAs, interviewing bands for “Extra,” on various talk shows. Here’s a picture of her rubbing shoulders (literally) with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson on the set of “The Internship.” She wins the award for the best “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” ever.
Nathan Adrian has been seeing his popularity catapult into outer space. Since winning gold in the 100m freestyle this summer, the Cal swimmer has been doing tons of things, including making an appearance on The Tonight Show, attending Raiders games, and even a Tommy Hilfiger event. New York Magazine had this great blurb: “We sidled up to [Nathan] and asked the real, hard-hitting question on everyone's mind: Namely, which man on the U.S. Olympic swim team most desperately needs a fashion intervention? Adrian didn't even hesitate before laughing and naming fellow gold medalist Matt Grevers. Apparently Matt's been wearing the same pair of shoes since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. ‘And it's like, we're getting eight new pairs of shoes, dude. But … no,’ Adrian said, shaking his head. We wondered if maybe Grevers was hanging onto these mythical '08 shoes for good luck. ‘No,’ Adrian insisted. ‘It is not for luck. HE KNOWS.’” (The two are practically best friends, and it’s fun to see Adrian poking fun at his buddy.) Here’s a great picture of Adrian’s hometown naming a street sign after him…
Lia Neal, New York City’s very own swimming superstar, has been experiencing ultra-popularity in her hometown. She’s been everywhere, from attending parties with Martha Stewart to giving interviews to Teen Vogue to hugging the President and First Lady. Here’s one of her Tweets: “Just got a hug from the PRESIDENT and FIRST LADY of the USofA!!!!!!!!!!!! Best. day. of. my. life.” And of course, you can’t forget the picture with Martha…
And finally, there’s Ryan Lochte. So many rumors about which TV show would land The Lochtenator. (Will he be on SNL? Will he star on “The Bachelor?”) Lochte went to NYC’s Fashion Week and did some reporting for “Extra,” appeared on “30 Rock” and “90210.” But it appears now that Ryan will concentrate on some training. Yesterday, in an interview with the AP, Lochte said: “My main goal is to make swimming bigger than what it is, or what it was back in 2008, and the only way I can do that is by going and doing cameos, being on talk shows, doing all those little things ... bring [people] into swimming more.” He’s probably been the most buzzed-about Olympian since London. But he’s also trying to give back to the swim community. Gillette, one of Lochte’s sponsors, recently donated $25,000 to his old club swim team, Daytona Beach Speed Swimming. (See the picture here.) Here’s a video of Lochte and Conor Dwyer in a PSA for “Water for People,” an international nonprofit hoping to improve water resources in developing countries.