As we approach Super Bowl 43 and consider the commercialism that is now so fundamental to professional sports, I thought it might be fun to look back at some athletes who made it big financially "back in the day." Sport has long been a commercial enterprise for many.
See if you can guess who is being described below without looking it up.
This superstar of sports won Olympic Gold in 1928, 1932 and 1936--an athlete who didn't get started until age 8, but competed in the Olympic Games just three years later. Fans included Queen Mary, King Edward VIII, King Hakkon of Norway and Crown Prince Edward Wilhelm of Germany. This star had a powerful brand and became an international media phenomena who made huge sums from marketing products. The athlete's chosen sport was fundamentally changed by this teen idol's new sportswear and techniques. Crowd control was needed everywhere this competitor traveled. After this star's Olympic career ended in 1936, Hollywood beckoned with a five-year contract that paid $125,000 a film. A barnstorming performance tour paid $20,000 a night in big venues. This celebrity made more money than Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig combined. At the time of this athlete's death in 1969, the star's worth was $47 million.
Hint: In 1949, this star was one of three people to own a Zamboni.