Odd day jobs of Olympians

The path to gold isn’t always a path to riches. Many Olympians train alongside their day jobs--picking up trash, fighting fires, or laying concrete. Without sponsor support, financial backing, or paid leave, athletes have to fund their own training and Olympic dreams. The days of the amateur-only Olympic Games may be long gone, but the “everyman” spirit lives on. -By Andrew Dubbins, Yahoo! Sports

Team GB Kitting Out

When she isn't lifting weights for Team GB, Welsh-born Natasha Perdue lifts garbage cans. The 36-year-old weightlifter balances her day job at the refuse department of Leeds City Council with an intense nine session a week training regime. Formerly a national karate champion, Perdue switched to weightlifting after her father (who lifted for Britain in Munich and Mexico) passed away. She told BBC Wales Sport, “I would love him to be here, just to see what he would say to me…” (Clive Mason/Getty Images)

2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials - Day 7

After 12 hour construction shifts, 28-year-old Team USA discus-thrower Lance Brooks puts in two hours at his local gym. Unlike the money available to runners, discus throwers often need to take full-time jobs to make ends meet. At one point, Brooks had seven jobs, including construction worker, bouncer, bartender, substitute teacher, and Wal-Mart employee. While bartending one day, he met his coach Steve DeAutremont, who saw potential in the 6-foot-6, 270-pound Brooks. He began taking the sport more seriously and qualified at the Track & Field Trials on his final throw by six inches. Maybe those long construction shifts gave him that extra bit of muscle. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

2012 Team USA Media Summit

21-year-old Julie Zetlin is an aspiring actress and Team USA rhythmic gymnast. After London, she plans to retire from gymnastics, move to LA, and pursue acting fulltime. She caught the acting bug at 4 years old when she landed a Welch’s grape juice TV commercial. Despite injuries and knee surgery, Zetlin earned a wild-card berth at the London Games. Asked about Will Ferrell’s rhythmic gymnastics in Old School, Zetlin said, “He didn’t do a very good job, though it’s very funny.” (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

2012 Olympic Teams Trials - Wrestling

25-year-old U.S. wrestler Chas Betts labels himself a Motion Designer first. Search his name and you’ll find his design website, with the brief introduction: “Hi. My name is Chas Betts and I am a motion designer. Please enjoy my projects and take a look at my blog to see what else I am up to when I’m not animating.” Spoiler alert: when he’s not animating, he’s wrestling. His father introduced him to the sport when he was five, and he hasn’t left the mat since. He didn’t make the cut for the Beijing Games but earned a spot in London at the 2012 Team trials. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Samsung - World Rowing Cup 2012

Norway’s Olaf Tufte juggles three jobs: farmer, fireman, and gold medal-winning single-scull rower. Tufte earns a living by growing food on the family farm and fighting fires. He took home the silver in Sydney and overcame asthma and injuries to win gold in Beijing. As if that’s not enough, Tufte also hosts the “Tufte Farmers’ Challenge,” a competition for top Norwegian athletes featuring axe throwing, car-pulling, and tire flipping. He’s a favorite to win in London, but admitted that he’s been struggling with health issues and energy levels—can’t blame the guy. (Stevanovic/Getty Images)