As the 2008 Olympic Games continue in Beijing, you will see some familiar faces in the athletes who have competed in past Games. But you also may recognize some of the athletes from past Coca-Cola ads!

As part of our campaign featuring Coke cans with special international logos celebrating the Olympics, we're teaming up with a "six-pack" of athletes: Natalie Coughlin (swimming), LeBron James (basketball), Shawn Johnson (gymnastics), Steven Lopez (taekwondo), Andy Potts (triathlon), and Sanya Richards (track & field).

But having Olympians in our ads is nothing new for us. Just as we've had celebrities in Coke ads for more than a century, Olympic athletes have appeared in our ads since the 1930s. Swimming gold medalist (1924 and 1928) and later actor Johnny Weismuller became the first Olympic athlete to endorse a Coca-Cola product in 1934 when he appeared on Coke serving trays and posters.

Here's a partial list of some of the other Olympic greats who have starred in advertising for Coca-Cola, diet Coke, Sprite, PowerAde and TaB.

  • Muhammad Ali (boxing)
  • Charles Barkley (basketball)
  • Valerie Brisco-Hooks (track & field)
  • Lynn Burke (swimming)
  • Alice Coachman (track & field)
  • Tim Duncan (basketball)
  • Dorothy Hamill (figure skating)
  • Grant Hill (basketball)
  • LeBron James (basketball)
  • Michael Jordan (basketball)
  • Yao Ming (basketball)
  • Jesse Owens (track & field)
  • Scottie Pippen (basketball)
  • Ross Powers (snowboarding)
  • Isiah Thomas (basketball)
  • J.J. Thomas (snowboarding)
  • Katarina Witt (figure skating)