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12 Olympians Who Don't Keep Their Medals in a Sock Drawer

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What happens to all of the Olympic hardware once the last medal is awarded and the torch is extinguished? It depends on the Olympian—but a surprising number of medals find homes in sock and underwear drawers. Here are 12 winners who made a different choice.

1. CARL LEWIS: HIS FATHER'S CASKET

Nine-time gold medalist in track and field for the U.S.

At his father’s funeral in 1987, Lewis left the medal he won for the 100-meter in the casket with his dad. When his mother seemed shocked, Lewis told her that it was no big deal; he planned to get another one. He was right. At the Seoul Games in 1988, Lewis originally got the silver in the 100-meter but later claimed gold when Canadian Ben Johnson lost the medal for steroid use.

2. CHRISTIE RAMPONE: IN POTS AND PANS

Three-time gold medalist and former captain of the U.S. women’s soccer team

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Rampone (left) keeps her medals in a rather unorthodox place: in her pots and pans in the kitchen. “I figure, who’s going to look in the kitchen?” she said. She may move them now that the world knows her secret hiding place.

3. SHANNON MILLER: AROUND HER SON'S NECK

Winner of two gold, two silver, and three bronze medals for the 1992 and 1996 U.S. gymnastics teams

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While she keeps her medals in a safe deposit box most of the time, she admits that her son gets a kick out of donning them: “Rocco, my son, wears my gold medal around the house. He gives me the silver. I guess I know who's boss in our house.”

4. KIM RHODE: IN HER BACK POCKET

U.S. double trap and skeet shooter who has medaled in every Summer Olympics since 1996

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Back when she just had a couple of medals, Rhode liked to tote the hardware around with her. “A lot of times they’re with me or in my back pocket as I used to carry them when I was younger,” she said.

5. SHAUN WHITE: UNDER A BOOK AT HIS AGENT'S HOUSE

U.S. snowboarder and two-time gold medalist in the halfpipe

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Sure, he has 12 gold medals from the Winter X Games, but there’s something special about the Olympic golds. So special, in fact, that his mom had one of the medals dry cleaned after the ribbon became dirty from making the talk show rounds. Prior to that, the Flying Tomato left a medal with his agent—and sort of forgot about it. “I called my agent randomly and said, ‘Hey, you have my medal, right?’ He gasped—he said his heart just dropped. But he found it. It was in a dresser under a book in his house.”

6. BONNIE BLAIR: IN HER COFFEE TABLE

U.S. speed skater and five-time gold medalist

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Once you start racking up the medals, it gets slightly more challenging to display them. That wasn't a problem for Bonnie Blair, who had a coffee table custom-made in the shape of the Olympic rings to showcase them. "A very good friend made it for me. It's got a glass top. It's one of the most unique pieces of furniture I can imagine, and I can share it with anybody that comes to the house. It's very cool. It's something that I'm very proud of."

7. CAITLYN JENNER: WITH HER NAIL POLISH

Decathlon gold medalist for the U.S. in 1976

“Actually I looked the other day and the medal was in my nail drawer, with all my nail colors and everything,” Jenner recently told H&M.

8. AND 9. KRISTI YAMAGUCHI AND TARA LIPINSKI: THE WORLD FIGURE SKATING MUSEUM

Both won a gold medal for women’s single figure skating

“I have always been nervous of it getting lost, stolen or even damaged,” Yamaguchi has said. “It is made of Lalique crystal so it's beautiful but very fragile too. I prefer to keep it in one place so it lessens the chance of it getting damaged.”

10. LINDSEY VONN: HER NIGHTSTAND

U.S. Alpine ski racer and winner of one gold and one bronze medal
“ I keep my Olympic medals right by my bed, in my nightstand,” she wrote to a young fan. “I don’t take them out very often but sometimes if I’ve been having a bad day, I will take them out and remember the positives, remember that hard work pays off and that keeps me going.”

11. BOB SUTER: HIS SON'S SCHOOL LOCKER

Gold medalist and member of the "Miracle on Ice" 1980 U.S. hockey team
Ryan Suter took his father's hardware to show-and-tell at school every year—and it didn't always make it home. Sometimes it sat in his locker for weeks before making it back to the Olympian. "I didn't realize how special it was," Ryan said. Someday, Ryan can send his own medal to school with his kids—he won a silver with the U.S. hockey team at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

12. IAN THORPE: A BANK VAULT

Australian swimmer and nine-time medalist (five gold, three silver, and one bronze)
Ian Thorpe made waves at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney when he dominated the medal stand at just 17 years old. He left them in a bank vault—and didn't look at them for a decade, when he had a photo shoot to mark the 10-year anniversary of his achievements in Sydney.

THE SOCK DRAWER CLUB

Here’s a list of athletes who have admitted to keeping their medals tucked between balled-up socks at some point:

  • Apolo Anton Ohno, short track speed skating (two golds, two silver, four bronze)
  • Angela Ruggiero, women’s ice hockey (one gold, two silver, one bronze)
  • Susan Francia, rowing (two golds)
  • Jessica Mendoza, softball (one gold, one silver)
  • Henry Cejudo, freestyle wrestling (one gold)
  • Brenda Villa, water polo (two silver, one bronze)
  • Natalie Coughlin, swimming (three gold, four silver, five bronze)
  • Mary Lou Retton, gymnastics (one gold, two silver, two bronze)
  • Sue Bird, basketball (three gold)
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6 Times There Were Ties at the Oscars
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Only six ties have ever occurred during the Academy Awards' near-90-year history. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) members vote for nominees in their corresponding categories; here are the six times they have come to a split decision.

1. BEST ACTOR // 1932

Back in 1932, at the fifth annual Oscars ceremony, the voting rules were different than they are today. If a nominee received an achievement that came within three votes of the winner, then that achievement (or person) would also receive an award. Actor Fredric March had one more vote than competitor Wallace Beery, but because the votes were so close, the Academy honored both of them. (They beat the category’s only other nominee, Alfred Lunt.) March won for his performance in horror film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (female writer Frances Marion won Best Screenplay for the film), and Beery won for The Champ, which was remade in 1979 with Ricky Schroder and Jon Voight. Both Beery and March were previous nominees: Beery was nominated for The Big House and March for The Royal Family of Broadway. March won another Oscar in 1947 for The Best Years of Our Lives, also a Best Picture winner. Fun fact: March was the first actor to win an Oscar for a horror film.

2. BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT // 1950

By 1950, the above rule had been changed, but there was still a tie at that year's Oscars. A Chance to Live, an 18-minute movie directed by James L. Shute, tied with animated film So Much for So Little. Shute’s film was a part of Time Inc.’s "The March of Time" newsreel series and chronicles Monsignor John Patrick Carroll-Abbing putting together a Boys’ Home in Italy. Directed by Bugs Bunny’s Chuck Jones, So Much for So Little was a 10-minute animated film about America’s troubling healthcare situation. The films were up against two other movies: a French film named 1848—about the French Revolution of 1848—and a Canadian film entitled The Rising Tide.

3. BEST ACTRESS // 1969

Probably the best-known Oscars tie, this was the second and last time an acting award was split. When presenter Ingrid Bergman opened up the envelope, she discovered a tie between newcomer Barbra Streisand and two-time Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn—both received 3030 votes. Streisand, who was 26 years old, tied with the 61-year-old The Lion in Winter star, who had already been nominated 10 times in her lengthy career, and won the Best Actress Oscar the previous year for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Hepburn was not in attendance, so all eyes fell on Funny Girl winner Streisand, who wore a revealing, sequined bell-bottomed-pantsuit and gave an inspired speech. “Hello, gorgeous,” she famously said to the statuette, echoing her first line in Funny Girl.

A few years earlier, Babs had received a Tony nomination for her portrayal of Fanny Brice in the Broadway musical Funny Girl, but didn’t win. At this point in her career, she was a Grammy-winning singer, but Funny Girl was her movie debut (and what a debut it was). In 1974, Streisand was nominated again for The Way We Were, and won again in 1977 for her and Paul Williams’s song “Evergreen,” from A Star is Born. Four-time Oscar winner Hepburn won her final Oscar in 1982 for On Golden Pond.

4. BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE // 1987

The March 30, 1987 telecast made history with yet another documentary tie, this time for Documentary Feature. Oprah presented the awards to Brigitte Berman’s film about clarinetist Artie Shaw, Artie Shaw: Time is All You’ve Got, and to Down and Out in America, a film about widespread American poverty in the ‘80s. Former Oscar winner Lee Grant (who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1976 for Shampoo) directed Down and Out and won the award for producers Joseph Feury and Milton Justice. “This is for the people who are still down and out in America,” Grant said in her acceptance speech.

5. BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION) // 1995

More than 20 years ago—the same year Tom Hanks won for Forrest Gump—the Short Film (Live Action) category saw a tie between two disparate films: the 23-minute British comedy Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life, and the LGBTQ youth film Trevor. Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi wrote and directed the former, which stars Richard E. Grant (Girls, Withnail & I) as Kafka. The BBC Scotland film envisions Kafka stumbling through writing The Metamorphosis.

Trevor is a dramatic film about a gay 13-year-old boy who attempts suicide. Written by James Lecesne and directed by Peggy Rajski, the film inspired the creation of The Trevor Project to help gay youths in crisis. “We made our film for anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider,” Rajski said in her acceptance speech, which came after Capaldi's. “It celebrates all those who make it through difficult times and mourns those who didn’t.” It was yet another short film ahead of its time.

6. BEST SOUND EDITING // 2013

The latest Oscar tie happened only three years ago, when Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall beat Argo, Django Unchained, and Life of Pi in sound editing. Mark Wahlberg and his animated co-star Ted presented the award to Zero Dark Thirty’s Paul N.J. Ottosson and Skyfall’s Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers. “No B.S., we have a tie,” Wahlberg said to the crowd, assuring them he wasn’t kidding. Ottosson was announced first and gave his speech before Hallberg and Baker Landers found out that they were the other victors.

It wasn’t any of the winners' first trip to the rodeo: Ottosson won two in 2010 for his previous collaboration with Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker (Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Sound Mixing); Hallberg previously won an Oscar for Best Sound Effects Editing for Braveheart in 1996, and in 2008 both Hallberg and Baker Landers won Best Achievement in Sound Editing for The Bourne Ultimatum.

Ottosson told The Hollywood Reporter he possibly predicted his win: “Just before our category came up another fellow nominee sat next to me and I said, ‘What if there’s a tie, what would they do?’ and then we got a tie,” Ottosson said. Hallberg also commented to the Reporter on his win. “Any time that you get involved in some kind of history making, that would be good.”

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11 Haunting Facts About Beloved

Toni Morrison—who was born on February 18, 1931—made a name for herself with The Bluest Eye, Sula and Song of Solomon, but it wasn’t until 1987’s Beloved, about a runaway slave haunted by the death of her infant daughter, that her legacy was secured. The book won the Pulitzer Prize and was a key factor in the decision to award Morrison the Nobel Prize in 1993. All the awards aside, Beloved is a testament to the horrors of slavery, with its narrative of suffering and repressed memory and its dedication to the more than 60 million who died in bondage. Here are some notable facts about Morrison’s process and the novel’s legacy.

1. IT’S BASED ON A TRUE STORY.

While compiling research for 1974's The Black Book, Morrison came across the story of Margaret Garner, a runaway slave from Kentucky who escaped with her husband and four children to Ohio in 1856. A posse caught up with Garner, who killed her youngest daughter and attempted to do the same to her other children rather than let them return to bondage. Once apprehended, her trial transfixed the nation. "She was very calm; she said, 'I’d do it again,'" Morrison told The Paris Review. "That was more than enough to fire my imagination."

2. MORRISON CAME UP WITH THE CHARACTER BELOVED AFTER SHE STARTED WRITING.

The book was originally going to be about the haunting of Sethe by her infant daughter, who she killed (just as Garner did) rather than allow her to return to slavery. A third of the way through writing, though, Morrison realized she needed a flesh-and-blood character who could judge Sethe’s decision. She needed the daughter to come back to life in another form (some interpret it as a grief-driven case of mistaken identity). As she told the National Endowment for the Arts’ NEA Magazine: "I thought the only person who was legitimate, who could decide whether [the killing] was a good thing or not, was the dead girl."

3. SHE WROTE THE ENDING EARLY IN THE WRITING PROCESS.

Morrison has said she likes to know the ending of her books early on, and to write them down once she does. With Beloved, she wrote the ending about a quarter of the way in. "You are forced into having a certain kind of language that will keep the reader asking questions," she told author Carolyn Denard in Toni Morrison: Conversations.

4. MORRISON BECAME FASCINATED WITH SMALL HISTORICAL DETAILS.

To help readers understand the particulars of slavery, Morrison carefully researched historical documents and artifacts. One particular item she became fascinated with: the "bit" that masters would put in slaves' mouths as punishment. She couldn’t find much in the way of pictures or descriptions, but she found enough to imagine the shame slaves would feel. In Beloved, Paul D. tells Sethe that a rooster smiled at him while he wore the bit, indicating that he felt lower than a barnyard animal.

5. SHE ONLY RECENTLY READ THE BOOK HERSELF.

In an appearance on The Colbert Report last year, Morrison said she finally got around to reading Beloved after almost 30 years. Her verdict: "It’s really good!"

6. THE BOOK INSPIRED READERS TO BUILD BENCHES.

When accepting an award from the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1988, Morrison observed that there is no suitable memorial to slavery, "no small bench by the road." Inspired by this line, the Toni Morrison Society started the Bench by the Road Project to remedy the issue. Since 2006, the project has placed 15 benches in locations significant to the history of slavery and the Civil Rights movement, including Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, which served as the point of entry for 40% of slaves brought to America.

7. WHEN BELOVED DIDN’T WIN THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN 1987, FELLOW WRITERS PROTESTED.

After the snub, 48 African-American writers, including Maya Angelou, John Edgar Wideman and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., signed a letter that appeared in the New York Times Book Review. "For all of America, for all of American letters," the letter addressing Morrison read, "you have advanced the moral and artistic standards by which we must measure the daring and the love of our national imagination and our collective intelligence as a people."

8. IT’S ONE OF THE MOST FREQUENTLY CHALLENGED BOOKS.

Between 2000 and 2009, Beloved ranked 26th on the American Library Association’s list of most banned/challenged books. A recent challenge in Fairfax County, Virginia, cited the novel as too intense for teenage readers, while another challenge in Michigan said the book was, incredibly, overly simplistic and pornographic. Thankfully, both challenges were denied.

9. MORRISON ALSO WROTE AN OPERA BASED ON GARNER’S LIFE.

Ten years ago, Morrison collaborated with Grammy-winning composer Richard Danielpour on Margaret Garner, an opera about the real-life inspiration behind Beloved. It opened in Detroit in 2005, and played in Charlotte, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York before closing in 2008.

10. MORRISON DID NOT WANT IT MADE INTO A MOVIE.

Although she publicly claims otherwise, according to a New York magazine story, Morrison told friends she didn’t want Beloved made into a movie. And she didn’t want Oprah Winfrey (who bought the film rights in 1988) to be in it. Nevertheless, the film came out in 1998 and was a total flop.

11. THERE'S AN ILLUSTRATED VERSION.

The Folio Society, a London-based company that creates fancy special editions of classic books, released the first-ever illustrated Beloved in 2015. Artist Joe Morse had to be personally approved by Morrison for the project. Check out a few of his hauntingly beautiful illustrations here.

This article originally appeared in 2015.

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