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The Olympics Effect: A Lasting Legacy

In the famous animated TV show "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," Yukon Cornelius searched the ice and snow for silver and gold. His trusty nose always knew when he'd struck pay dirt. Since the Winter Olympics began in 1924, athletes from these games have learned that gold can indeed come from snow and ice.

Here's a look at some of the athletes who have enjoyed continuing fame and commercial success thanks to the winter games. The old prospector would be proud of them.

—By James Buckley Jr., Special to CNBC.com

Emmanuel Dunand | AFP | Getty Images