Sitting at home watching world-class athletes compete in PyeongChang this week, it’s hard to imagine that they find time to do anything but train. But just like the tens of millions Americans and countless others around the world, even Olympic athletes run side hustles alongside their full-time endeavors.
Whether they’re motivated by passion, to build foundations for when they retire from professional athletics, or something else entirely, these three Olympians have managed to clear time in their rigorous training regimens to build side hustles.
Kelly Clark, Furniture Maker
Gold medalist Kelly Clark is back for her fifth Olympics this year and recently took fourth place in the women’s halfpipe event. While this year’s winter games could reportedly be her last Olympic appearance, Clark has built multiple side hustles outside of her life as an athlete.
One of her main passion projects is closely related to her sport. The Kelly Clark Foundation offers kids the resources and opportunities to achieve their highest potential through snowboarding, and it’s awarded over $100,000 in scholarships to date.
But on top of that work, Clark also builds limited quantities of handmade furniture under a line called Sparrow Creative. Since around 2015, she’s designed creative wooden tables and headboards, along with shelving for friends and customers alike.
Joey Mantia, Coffee Roaster
This 28-time world champion and two-time speed-skating Olympian is competing in four events at PyeongChang, and placed eighth in the 1,500-meter event earlier this week.
When he’s not training, doing endorsements with brands like Under Armour, and competing, Mantia moonlights as an owner and investor at Coffee Lab, a “third-wave” coffee shop located inside the University of Utah’s School of Pharmacy in Salt Lake City, where he lives.
Didn't drink coffee at all until I owned a 3rd wave coffee shop, now I can't live without it. Ipso facto, good coffee changed my life pic.twitter.com/zdCUd79xwX
— Joey Mantia (@jrmantia) February 10, 2018
For all the success that speed skating has brought him, Mantia says, “good coffee changed my life.”
Iouri Podladtchikov, Photographer
Podladtchikov, the 29-year-old from Switzerland who took gold in the Sochi games in 2014 for the snowboarding halfpipe, had to bow out at the last minute from competing in PyeongChang after getting injured in the X Games in Aspen, Colorado last month. But he still headed to PyeonChang to cheer on his team–and has a thriving side hustle in photography to keep him busy.
Last summer Podladtchikov published True Love Is Hard to Find, a book of Polaroids he’s taken, which makes for a dynamic window into his life. Podladtchikov has also teamed up with the iconic camera maker Leica to design a special-edition Leica Q “Snow” that will be released in a limited quantity in March.
It’s anyone’s guess whether Clark, Mantia, or Podladtchikov will one day retire from their sports to take up woodworking, coffee, or photography full time. But what really matters is that they’re carving out time to do something totally different from the fields they dominate so spectacularly. Turns out even hyper-focused, top-performing Olympians show how work is shifting these days, away from single career paths toward something much more multidimensional–and, often, more exciting.
Ryan Robinson is an entrepreneur and writer. On his blog, ryrob.com, he teaches over 200,000 monthly readers how to start and grow a profitable side business. Join him on Twitter at @TheRyanRobinson to chat more about business and side projects.