You might be the world’s biggest Olympics fan, with plans to slip into your Michael Phelps pajamas and eat British food while you watch round-the-clock coverage of the upcoming London games. You may have memorized every storyline, every rivalry, every favorite and underdog determined to take home the gold.
But according to the Olympians themselves, there’s still plenty you don’t know about them. Recently, they opened up on the top-secret hobbies, fears and second careers that show there’s much more to them than meets the eye.
Betsey Armstrong is a Water Polo whiz, having won the silver medal at the Beijing Summer Games in 2008. But according to her, it’s an unlikely hobby that helps her reach such heights. “You might be surprised to know that I am an avid yoga attendee,” she revealed.
“I’m a huge fan of Broadway,” said Bryan Clay, the Track & Field star who is reigning Olympic champion for the decathlon, a gold medal winner from the 2008 Olympics and a silver medal winner from 2004 — and apparently, a big Julie Taymor fan. “I really enjoyed ‘The Lion King,'” he laughed.
Water Polo player Brenda Villa had a most impressive secret to reveal. “I am tri-lingual,” explained the Olympian, who started playing Water Polo when she was eight years old. “I speak English, Spanish and Italian.”
Some secrets are silly, like the one that gymnast Jordyn Wieber admitted.
“I love anything leopard-print,” she grinned. “Any shoes, clothes, anything.”
Others are just plain out-of-left-field:
Michael Hunter, Boxing: “I like to write poetry.”
Alicia Sacramone, Gymnastics: “I’m afraid of clowns.”
Ashton Eaton, Track and Field: “I am a black belt in Tae Kwan Do.”
Allyson Felix, Track and Field: “I am an amazing hula hooper.”
Ryan Lochte, Swimming: “I like to draw in my spare time.”
Then there’s the aspiring musicians. Much like the rest of us, these Olympians are going about their business every day, but some part of them wishes that they were up on a stage being a more literal rock star.
“I like to sing,” said gymnast John Orozco, himself the star of a recent hit video from the band Gym Class Heroes. “I like to sing everything from country to hip-hop.”
Water Polo player Merrill Moses, perhaps, could back Orozco up on stage. “I used to play the saxophone and the viola when I was younger,” he revealed.
Then there’s Track and Field superstar Carmelita Jeter, whose buff bod is reminiscent of a young Tina Turner, but insists the comparisons end there. “I do like to sing,” she laughed. “Unfortunately, I don’t know how to sing.”