Then: Major-league pitcher Jim Abbott, who was born without a right hand, won 87 games during his 10-year career with the Angels, Yankees, White Sox and Brewers. In 1993 with the Yankees, he pitched a no-hitter against the Indians. Now: In 2008, Abbott was the spokesperson for this government campaign, which focused on employment for people with disabilities. He retired from baseball in 1999, and has been a motivational speaker.
Then: At 5 feet 3, point guard Muggsy Bogues was the NBA's shortest player ever. Using his speed, deft passing and quick hands, Bogues played for five teams during his 14-year NBA career. One of the most lasting images of Bogues is from his rookie season with the Washington Bullets in 1987-88, standing next to his then-teammate, Manute Bol, the tallest player in the league at the time at 7-7. Now: Bogues works in the front office of this NBA team. Before that, he coached this now-defunct WNBA team for a couple of years.
Then: Manute Bol, 7 feet 7, was the tallest player ever in the NBA until one-time teammate and fellow 7-7 center Gheorghe Muresan came along in 1985, three years before Bol retired. Bol was a dangerous shot-blocker, but his game didn't develop much beyond that, due partially to his slight build. Bol, the son of a Dinka tribal chief who was born and raised in Sudan, played for four teams in 10 NBA seasons. Now: He's the brand ambassador for this airline. Before that, he was involved in a serious car accident in 2004, but thankfully recovered.
Then: Dan O'Brien will likely always be linked with fellow decathlete Dave Johnson, after the two teamed up for an advertising campaign for Reebok. They were co-favorites to win gold at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. But O'Brien surprisingly failed to qualify for the national team at the U.S. Olympic trials. However, he won Olympic gold in the decathlon four years later. Now: O'Brien recently broke the world record for the fastest game of hopscotch — breaking the old mark by two seconds. What was his time? He also owns a gym in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Then: Fernando Valenzuela was synonymous with the Dodgers in the 1980s, when the left-handed pitcher started a craze known as "Fernandomania." In 1981, he became the only player in major-league history to win Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young in the same season. The six-time All-Star was released by the Dodgers in 1991, but floated in and out of the majors for the next seven seasons, playing for five teams. Now: Valenzuela helped this baseball team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He's also a Spanish-language radio commentator for the Dodgers.
Then: Though Phil Mahre is one of the best American skiers, who won two Olympic medals, he is best remembered for the gold medal in the slalom at the 1984 Games in Sarajevo, when he edged out his fraternal twin brother, Steve (far left), who took silver. Then, Phil Mahre found out during a television interview after the gold medal-winning race that his wife, Holly, had given birth to a son an hour before the race. Now: Along with his twin brother, he runs this Utah skiing center. The twins also compete in auto racing.
Then: Brazilian soccer player Pele transcended his sport when he was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. He also was officially declared the soccer ambassador of the world by the sport's international governing body, FIFA. Pele is the only player to be a part of three World Cup teams. Now: A longtime ambassador for soccer and Brazil, Pele this past year lent his name to an arcade soccer game for Wii. He appears in the game as a coach.
Mary Lou Retton
Then: Every four years when the Olympics roll around, it's hard to not come across an image of former gymnast Mary Lou Retton, who became the first female gymnast outside Eastern Europe to win the Olympic all-around title in 1984 in Los Angeles. Retton needed perfect 10s on her final two events — the floor exercise and the vault — and she did it. Retton also won two silver medals and two bronze Now: Retton lives in Houston with her husband and four daughters. She does occasional TV broadcasting work for gymnastics and also does work for a special charity.
Then: Before there was Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz set the Olympic standard for swimming by winning a then-record seven gold medals at the 1972 Games in Munich. To this day, people still remember Spitz's trademark mustache and the seven gold medals he draped around his neck for photographs. Before his Munich spree, Spitz won two gold medals, a silver and a bronze at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Now: Spitz is an entrepreneur who also travels for motivational speaking engagements around the world.
Then: George Brett, who led Kansas City to six American League Championship Series and two World Series during his 20-year career with the Royals, is widely regarded as one of the most complete baseball players because of his hitting, defense and unselfish attitude. The Hall of Famer's 3,154 career hits are the most by a third baseman. He is also remembered for "The Pine Tar Incident," when he lost a home run in1983 after umpires ruled he violated an obscure rule. After thedecision, Brett charged from the dugout and was ejected. Now: He is part of an investment group that owns several minor-league baseball teams.
Then: Brandi Chastain played for the U.S. women's national soccer team from 1991 to 2004. The defender also participated in the 1996 Olympic games with the U.S. national team, but it was her 1999 Women's World Cup performance that gained her worldwide attention. In the final game against China, Chastain scored on the fifth penalty kick — winning the game. She then stripped off her jersey and fell to her knees in celebration. Now: Chastain is a TV soccer analyst who covered the Beijing Olympics for NBC. Chastain lives in San Jose, Calif., with her soccer-coach husband and their children.
Then: At Auburn, Bo Jackson played baseball and football — winning the Heisman. He launched his MLB career with the Royals in '87, and began playing in the NFL for the Raiders in '89. He was the first athlete to be named an All-Star in two major sports, and was known for his "Bo Knows" ads. Now: Jackson is part-owner of a state-of-the-art training facility in Illinois. He's also involved in other investments, including a bank and a food company.