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How about Michael Phelps as ‘The Bachelor’?

The sad fact of the Olympics is that for most of its athletes it represents the proverbial 15 minutes of fame rather than a lasting stint in the spotlight. For the most part, the years of effort that brought these athletes to the Games won't be widely remembered a month from now.It's important for Olympians to extend that chance at fame as much as possible. What better vehicle for that than realit
/ Source: msnbc.com contributor

The sad fact of the Olympics is that for most of its athletes it represents the proverbial 15 minutes of fame rather than a lasting stint in the spotlight. For the most part, the years of effort that brought these athletes to the Games won't be widely remembered a month from now.

It's important for Olympians to extend that chance at fame as much as possible. What better vehicle for that than reality television? The genre provides countless opportunities to get back on TV while using the skills that have allowed them to excel in sports.

Think of the possibilities.

Michael Phelps: 'The Bachelor'

Swimmer Michael Phelps is going to get calls from every television show in the country before the lights have even dimmed on the closing ceremonies. But for the best fit, he'll need to look no further than "The Bachelor."

Phelps is young, single, good-looking, famous, and has enough gold to rival King Midas. It wouldn't take long to find 25 women eager to get him to propose. Every single Hollywood starlet — and even some of the married ones — would be calling their agents to secure a spot on the show.

As viewers of the ABC dating show well know, women who appear on "The Bachelor" are willing to stretch the bounds of decency and set feminism back decades to win the heart of the average run-of-the-mill contestant. (Bob Guiney, anyone?) If they spat and scratch over a guy like Jesse Palmer, who was just a third-string NFL quarterback, what might they do for Phelps?

He Kexin: 'Baby Borrowers'

He Kexin has shown her acting range by portraying a 16-year-old long enough to help China win the gold medal in women's gymnastics.  After that, surely she can play the role of a toddler given to flustered teenagers on NBC's "Baby Borrowers" show.

The Chinese gymnast already looks the part of a nursery schooler, so she won't need to spend much time in hair and makeup.

Plus, she'll be able to terrorize her temporary parents not just by hanging from the rafters, but by doing acrobatics on the exposed pipes that would both enthrall and petrify any parent who saw their child in action.

Tim Daggett: 'American Idol'

There are always rumors about shakeups on "Idol," and if Simon, Paula or Randy are ever shown the door, 1984 Olympic gymnast Tim Daggett would be an ideal replacement.

As a commentator for NBC, Daggett has been particularly harsh on the gymnasts during the broadcasts thus far. That may not make fans of the sport very happy, but it should be making the folks at Fox salivate.

If Daggett is willing to say that an Olympic gymnast looked to be choking, as he did this year, what might be say about some delusional 24-year-old who shouldn't even be singing in the shower but tries out for "Idol" anyway? He might even be able to out-Simon Simon.

Ara Abrahamian: 'Big Brother'

Sure, Phelps won eight gold medals, but Ara Abrahamian broke new ground by throwing one of the biggest hissyfits in Olympic history.

The Swedish wrestler was so unhappy with his bronze medal-winning performance in Beijing that he ditched his medal on the mat after the ceremony.

He was expecting to win gold, and was furious at what he saw as unfair judging that cost him first place.

If he can get angry enough to leave that kind of hardware behind, what might he do to a fellow "Big Brother" housemate who screws up a food challenge and leaves him on slop for a week? A lot of viewers might tune in to find out.

Nastia Liukin: 'Dancing With the Stars'

This is a no-brainer. "Dancing With the Stars" seeks out athletes who can move gracefully, and Nastia Liukin is the best gymnast in the world. It's a match made in heaven — but not in the way most would expect.

Here's a spot where the judges can both pull in the ratings and do something for the institution of ballroom dancing. Invite Liukin on the show. Assign her the worst partner possible, perhaps even Jerry Springer. Give her the most difficult routine, judge her harshly, and watch her get voted out anyway. Then tell the world, "See how hard ballroom dancing is? Even a gold-medal Olympic gymnast can't do it!"

That's a PR campaign that could bring some of the show's professionals to the London Olympics in 2012 as contestants, thus further bridging the gap between reality TV and sports.

Craig Berman is a writer in Washington, D.C. and a frequent contributor to Msnbc.com