The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics kick off Friday (August 5), and we’re more excited than ever to watch our favorite athletes from around the word flip, twist, swing and backstroke their way to gold medals.
We may be big fans of the Olympics, but many Olympians have turned out to be big fans of TV. After all, they’re just normal people. OK, that’s a lie — they’re wildly talented superhuman types. But just like us, they still find time to live and breathe their favorite TV shows… with the added bonus of being famous enough to guest star on them.
Through the years, Olympic athletes have made it a habit to snag a guest spot on their favorite programs during their “off years” between competitions, and we just love seeing their smiling faces show up on our screens.
McKayla Maroney, Hart of Dixie & Bones
No one will ever forget the “McKayla Maroney is not impressed meme” after she got stuck with the silver medal during the 2012 Olympics, but that wasn’t the last time her face was broadcast to the world. She made guest appearances on both Hart of Dixie and Bones after she wow’d us with her superior vaulting skills.
Michael Phelps, Suits
Michael Phelps currently holds the record for winning the most Olympic medals, but he also holds the record for most amazing guest appearance on Suits. Let us be the first to say: that is a hard record to set, with all the famous celebs that make their way onto that show.
Shawn Johnson, The Secret Life of the American Teenager
Shawn Johnson was practically a household name after her gymnastics victory at the 2012 Olympic Games, but it was still hilarious to see her cameo on The Secret Life of the American Teenager where her classmates had no apparent idea what she’d been up to the past few months.
Gabby Douglas, The Vampire Diaries
Remember that sweet girl Caroline Forbes (Candice King) bullied about flower arrangements during the Miss Mystic Falls pageant? That was none other than Gabby Douglas (2012 gold-medalist and all around gymnastics rockstar) making a short cameo on her favorite show, The Vampire Diaries.
Caitlyn Jenner, CHiPs
Early in the fifth season of CHiPs, star Erik Estrada briefly walked away due to a contract dispute. So Bruce Jenner quickly stepped in, playing Officer Steve McLeish for six episodes in 1981, five years after he won Olympic gold in the decathlon with a then-world-record 8,634 points.
Serena Williams, Law & Order: SVU
You thought Serena Williams being an outspoken feminist was a new thing? Check yourself before you wreck yourself. After medaling at the 2000 Olympic games for her mad tennis skills, Williams guest starred on Law & Order: SVU as a college girl who’d had her naked photos put on the internet and was NOT happy about it.
Ryan Lochte, 90210
While most episodes of 90210 were a little silly, the Halloween episode in Season 5 was exceptionally bizarre with a random, shirtless appearance by Olympic swimmer (and probable Greek God) Ryan Lochte. Not that we’re complaining or anything.
Kurt Angle, WWE Raw
After winning a gold medal at the 1996 game for men’s freestyle wrestling, with an injured neck no less, Kurt Angle decided to dip his feet into the world of professional wrestling. After signing to WWE, he debuted in 1999 and went on to have a legendary career in which he became a 5-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Nastia Liukin, Gossip Girl
Nasita Liukin actually went on to guest star on Gossip Girl and the short-lived CW cheerleader show Hellcats after she dominated the 2012 Olympic Games. Her quick scene hitting on Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick), however, is definitely our favorite of all her on-screen appearances.