RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 13:  Michael Phelps of the United States competes in the Men's 4 x 100m Medley Relay Final on Day 8 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Michael Phelps says 2017 will be big year in next plunge

Leave a comment

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Olympic medalist Michael Phelps has a second act in mind, one that might lead him to Silicon Valley. Although the athlete isn’t offering much in the way of specifics.

“I would love to get involved, whether it’s in a couple little startups here and there, take a little risk, have some fun and see where it goes,” Phelps said in an interview during a visit to San Jose.

Tech entrepreneurship would mark a big change for Phelps, whose business experience to date consists mostly of endorsement deals with Under Armour, Visa and Wheaties. These and other big brands have paid him an estimated $75 million during his career. In an advertising campaign that began last month, he became pitchman for the computer chipmaker Intel.

What else might the swimmer, who won 28 medals in five Olympics, do in the tech industry? Phelps wouldn’t say, beyond noting that he isn’t ready to start his own investment fund, like retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant did earlier this summer with entrepreneur Jeff Stibel. If Phelps has ideas for founding a startup of his own, he’s keeping them to himself.

Making the leap from pitchman to businessman is not easy, said David Carter, executive director of the University of Southern California’s Marshall Sports Business Institute. “Athletes come and go and many talk a big game, but they don’t follow through,” he said. Phelps “is really going to have commit to learning about business and demonstrate his seriousness about it.”

Celebrities have had mixed results in the tech startup arena, like anyone else.

Rapper and producer Dr. Dre was part of the founding team that sold Beats to Apple for $3 billion in 2014. The value of an investment fund co-founded by Ashton Kutcher has soared from $30 million, to $250 million since its 2010 inception.

Then there’s HJR Capital, started by former San Francisco 49er lineman Harris Barton. After enticing ex-teammates Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott to join him, the investment firm collapsed in 2009.

In September, former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling settled a long running legal dispute with the state of Rhode Island. A $75 million deal brought Schilling’s 38 Studios to the state from Massachusetts. It failed spectacularly within two years.

Phelps is exploring other options. He’s already launched a line of swimwear and other clothing bearing his “MP” logo. Other products are in the pipeline for next year, though he won’t say what.

“I am getting my feet wet,” Phelps said with a grin. “2017 will be a big year.”

VIDEO: Boomer Phelps gets early swimming lessons

Gwen Jorgensen pregnant, to sit out 2017 triathlon season

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20: USA's Gwen Jorgensen followed by Switzerland's Nicola Spirig Hug (L) compete in the running portion of the women's triathlon at Fort Copacabana during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 20, 2016.(Photo by Jeff Pachoud-Pool/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Olympic triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen is pregnant and will not compete this year.

“Just kind of take this year a little bit easier,” Jorgensen said in a video posted on Facebook on Thursday.

The baby is due Aug. 3, according to Jorgensen’s social media.

Jorgensen, 30, became the first U.S. Olympic triathlon champion in Rio after going in as the heavy favorite. She has said for months that she planned to take time off to have a baby before returning to defend her Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.

Swiss Nicola Spirig, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2016 silver medalist, is reportedly expecting a child in May.

In Jorgensen and Spirig’s absences, the top triathletes going into the season are defending world champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda, U.S. Olympians Katie Zaferes and Sarah True and Britons Vicky Holland and Helen Jenkins.

Jorgensen’s last competition was the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, when she finished 14th in her first running race longer than 10 miles.

The World Triathlon Series kicks off in Abu Dhabi the first weekend of March.

MORE: Triathlon federation boss wants Olympic races shortened

Watch NBC’s lookahead to 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics

Leave a comment

The PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the first Winter Games in South Korea, are a little more than one year away.

A number of U.S. stars are establishing themselves in this winter sports season as medal contenders.

NBC Sports takes a look at some of those names to watch, as the U.S. looks to return to the top of the medal standings.

Russia earned the most medals at home in Sochi in 2014 with 33 medals, with the U.S. coming in second with 28. Those standings could change if Russian results are stripped due to its ongoing doping scandal.

The U.S. has never topped the total medal standings at a Winter Olympics outside of North America. It led the way at Lake Placid 1932 and Vancouver 2010.

VIDEO: PyeongChang 2018 Olympic venue tour