Olympians in DentistryDentists are cool and all, but there are a few that have gone above and beyond. So far above and beyond, in fact, that they are competitors in the Olympics! The five Olympians below have one thing in common: they all wanted to be dentists!

Mark Spitz is a competitive swimmer who is a nine-time Olympic champion. He is probably best known for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, in which he won seven gold medals (in the seven events he swam in) and set world records in each! He held the record for the most gold medals won until Michael Phelps surpassed it decades later. His swimming career took him down a path he never expected because before he became a competitive swimmer, he had all intentions of becoming a dentist! He was enrolled at Indiana University from 1968 to 1972 as a pre-dental student and was accepted to dental school! In a TIME Magazine interview from 2011 he stated, “I always wanted to be a dentist from the time I was in high school, and I was accepted to dental school in the spring of 1972. I was planning to go, but after the Olympics there were other opportunities. I did some television and speaking engagements, and things just went from there.”

Tori Bowie is a competitive sprinter that made her Olympic debut in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. She, too, always wanted to be a dentist and never thought her life would lead her in the direction of competitive running. At the 2016 Olympics she competed in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints. In an interview with US Weekly she said, “I never anticipated my life would be this way. I always wanted to be a dentist! I thought I was going to be fixing teeth and making beautiful smiles. So to be here and be on this level, it’s breathtaking; you don’t even have words for it.” It sure was fun “rooting” for that year! Get it?!

Heena Sidhu is a competitive sport shooter. She is also a dentist! Sidhu lives India, competed in the 2012 London Olympics and will also be coming to the Rio Olympics as a favorite after winning gold in Asia’s Olympic qualifying tournament. Sidhu will compete in the 10-meter and 25-meter air pistol events. She is the first Indian woman to be ranked World No. 1 and could be the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal! Good luck!

Rafael Andrade is Brazil’s first trampoline Olympian. He finished his dental studies in 2013 and at that point decided to completely dedicate himself to his sport and began training in Great Britain. His hard work paid off and Andrade competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics. After his trampoline career, he plans to return to dentistry and open his own office.

John Walter Beardsley Tewksbury graduated dental school in 1899. He competed in the 1900 Paris Olympics and won 5 medals which was a record (for most medals earned by a single Olympian) held for decades. He won a bronze medal in the 200-meter hurdles, silver medals in the 60-meter and 100-meter sprints, and gold medals in the 200-meter sprint and 400-meter hurdles. After that he practiced dentistry for 34 years in Pennsylvania.


Written by: Lauren White, Media Manager at White Dental Studio in Ashland, OR.


Mark: Mark Spitz Wikipedia Page
Tori: http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/olympic-sprinter-tori-bowie-wanted-to-be-a-dentist-w212608
Heena: http://www.firstpost.com/sports/watch-this-olympic-dentist-sharpshooter-aims-to-give-india-golden-smile-2902516.html, Heena Sidhu Wikipedia Page
Rafael: http://remezcla.com/features/sports/bouncing-glory-story-brazilian-dentist-became-olympic-trampolinist/
John: http://www.archives.upenn.edu/people/1800s/tewksbury_jno_w_b.html

Updated: 1/31/18

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