Attorney and gold medalist Nancy Hogshead-Makar is an all-around American hero.
Not only did she win three gold medals and one silver in the 1984 Summer Olympics in swimming, she was instrumental in raising awareness and fighting to end sexual and other abuses against student and young athletes.
But she didn't start out on the path to lawyer/hero until after her Olympic success. After the '84 Olympics, she returned to school, finished her undergraduate degree, then began working for the Women's Sports Foundation. Eventually, in the mid-90s she attended and graduated from Georgetown University Law, and began transitioning from star to hero.
Hogshead-Makar may have had the benefit of Olympian status to help boost her career and attorney profile, but she did not squander it chasing paper. Rather, she focused much of her career, time, and energy into being an advocate for change and supporting women's athletics. But in 2010, when she started learning about just how widespread the problems were, she dedicated herself to helping.
Shockingly, it wasn't until after she presented and pleaded with the Olympic committee in 2012 that a rule was created prohibiting coaches from having romantic relationships with athletes. As an advocate to end sexual abuse and discrimination against athletes, she was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the disturbing facts that came out about Dr. Nassar and his history of rampant sexual abuse.
In a recent profile piece in the ABA Journal, Hogshead-Makar commented that the United States Olympic Committee would not act without extreme public pressure. And notably, she took a break from fighting the USOC to focus on getting federal legislation passed, which did actually get passed last year. That law requires anyone involved in Olympic or amateur sports to report all allegations of sexual abuse/misconduct to law enforcement within 24 hours.
To say that she is a champion might be putting it lightly. She is the CEO of, and actually founded, the organization called Champion Women, which is all about advocating for equality, and safety, in sports. Her website urges just about anyone to reach out for support, or to provide support.