Being an Olympian isn't all Subways commercials and wearing terribly designed Polo Ralph Lauren berets. A lot of it is hard work that no one recognizes or appreciates, and a lot of said work is undertaken by Olympians in the many sports that don't receive much shine in Western media. For every Michael Phelps, there are a hundred Olympians who have to make ends meet doing something outside of their chosen athletic discipline. The following are eight athletes competing in the 2016 Olympics in Rio who have the most interesting and unexpected day jobs of the bunch.
Ibtihaj Muhammad: clothing designer
U.S. fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad will become the first American athlete to ever compete in the Olympics in a hijab. And if her hjiab is anything like the gear she makes for Louella—Ibtihaj's personal clothing label—best believe it’ll be flames.
Getty ImagesHarry How
Chris Wyles: Craft brewery co-founder
As one half of Wildman Craft Lagers, American rugby Olympian Chris Wyles has collaborated with South African rugby player Alistair Hargreaves to create one of the more straightforward craft brew labels known to man. As their website states: “Listen, we’re rugby players who brew beer. We don’t do websites. Yet. You can’t a drink a website. You can smash the hell out of our first brew, though.” Truer words.
Getty ImagesMalcolm Couzens
Raheleh Asemani: postwoman
An Iranian-born refugee, Raheleh Asemani is a 27-year-old taekwondo master living in Belgium who will compete in her first Olympic Games in August. The stay in Rio will be a decided change of pace form her life in Belgium, which consists of running door-to-door delivering mail for the postal service. "I work in a post office," Asemani said in a recent interview. "I run from house to house delivering letters, but today I have delivered an Olympic ticket – I’m going to Rio!"
AFP/Getty ImagesANTONY DICKSON
Vincent Hancock: former U.S. army sergeant
Skeet shooting Olympian Vincent Hancock is a former member of the U.S. military and general all-around badass. Specifically, he was a sergeant in the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit and earned the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service medal, to name a few.
AFP/Getty ImagesVALERIE MACON
Kerron Clemont: model
American hurdler Kerron Clement is all about those angles and those patterns, and one of the few Olympians to seemingly master the art of thirst-trapping on the 'Gram.
Getty ImagesAndy Lyons
Talgat Ilyasov: Part-time MMA badass
Thirty-five-year-old Talgat Ilyasov is a hardass for multiple reasons, the first being his name, the second and third being his status as an Olympic wrestler and a mixed martial artist in his spare time. Mostly, however, Ilyasov deserves credit for overcoming a bulging disc in his back—a diagnosis he received in 2003 that led doctors to disqualify from the 2004 Summer Games in Athens and count him out of fighting sports altogether. More than a decade later, he'll compete in the games he was told he could never be a part of.
Kaleigh Gilchrist: t-shirt designer
A USC alumn, U.S. water polo player Kaleigh Gilchrist designs “nostalgic” shirts for her Trojans-fan-centric t-shirt company “I Miss South Central.”
AFP/Getty ImagesROMAN KRUCHININ
Miles Chamley-Watson: model
You'll be hearing the name "Miles Chamley-Watson" a lot this Olympics—at least relative to how much you typically hear about any fencer at any time. This, of course, is because Miles Chamley-Watson is not your average fencer. Quite to the contrary, is a fencer who models in his spare time, and when he's not doing that, he's mugging for pictures with Raekown the Chef. Again: this Olympic fencer is only built for Cuban linx. If Chamley-Watson isn't your favorite now, I don't know what to say.