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

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For being such rare, magical creatures, gold medals seem to get second-rate treatment once they land in the hands of Olympians. You’d be surprised how many athletes either misplace them or shove them in a sock drawer. Here are a few athletes who got a little more creative with theirs.

1. Carl Lewis: His Father's Casket

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

At his father’s funeral in 1987, Lewis left the medal he won for the 100m 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 100m but later claimed gold when Canadian Ben Johnson lost the medal for steroid use.

2. Christie Rampone: In Pots and Pans

Current captain of the U.S. women’s soccer team and three-time medalist

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

3. Shannon Miller: Around Her Son's Neck

Member of the 1992 and 1996 U.S. women’s gymnastics team and winner of two gold, two silver and three bronze medals

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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 drycleaned 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."

The Sock Drawer Club

Here’s a list of athletes who've admitted keeping their medals tucked between balled-up athletic socks - or did before their spouses yelled at them (cough, Bruce Jenner, cough):

  • Bruce Jenner, decathlon (one gold)
  • 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)
  • Ryan Lochte, swimming (five golds, three silver, three bronze)
  • Abby Wambach, soccer (one gold)
  • Brenda Villa, water polo (two silver, one bronze)
  • Natalie Coughlin, swimming (three gold, four silver, five bronze)
  • Mary Lou Retton, gymnast (one gold, two silver, two bronze)
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    August 8, 2012 - 4:53am
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