Wheaties Box Athletes

Former Wheaties Box Athlete

No more Wheaties for Michael Phelps, its on to Corn Flakes you go!
No more Wheaties for Michael Phelps, its on to Corn Flakes you go!

Michael Phelps Former Wheaties Box Athlete

Now, don't be shocked by this news... but, Michael Phelps has decided not to choose to be a Wheaties Box Athlete this year.

Go figure?

Don't all athletes want to be on the Wheaties Box?

Although Cheerios is reported as the best selling cereal in the US, followed by Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, Honey Nut Cheerios, Honey Bunches of Oats, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, the favored placement for any red blooded American athlete is to be found on the box of the ever famous Wheaties cereal.

The beginning of the Corn Flakes and Wheaties Box Battle.

Breakfast cereal has an interesting history, starting its debut as a healthy meal in the morning. The American Seventh Day Adventists formed the Western Health Reform Institute in the 1860’s, which was later named the Battle Creek Sanitarium because of its location in Battle Creek, Michigan. It was there that the Adventists manufactured and sold wholesome cereals and promoted the healthy start.

In 1906 Will Keith Kellogg, in an attempt to improve the diet of hospital patients by increasing their grain intake and finding a healthy bread substitute, accidentally came up with a tasty wheat flake cereal. Kellogg became the cereal industry giant and inventor of the corn flakes.

Wheaties Is Bran News

Wheaties The Breakfast of Champions

However, according to the Wheaties website, the cereal called Wheaties was created as a further development of the accidental flake, by George Cormack, who perfected the process of producing the flakes themselves. He was the head miller for the Washburn Crosby Company, or the predecessor of General Mills. The name “Wheaties” was given to the cereal as a result of an employee contest to name the cereal, won by Jane Bausman, the wife of a company executive.

Wheaties, who has always sold itself as the “healthy way to start your day”, is famous for becoming the “breakfast of champions” and traditionally placing famous athletes on the cover of their bright orange box. Making one ask, "have you had your Wheaties today?"

Wheaties Box Athlete Lou Gehrig

The first Wheaties Box Athlete.
The first Wheaties Box Athlete.

Lou Gehrig, the first Wheaties Box Athlete

The first Wheaties box athlete to gain the spot on the cover of the box was the famous Yankee slugger, Lou Gehrig in 1934. Following Lou Gehrig the years have seen many famous athletes donning the cover of the Wheaties box, but only seven have been chosen as “official Wheaties spokespersons” for the cereal. They were not only chosen for their champion skills in their sport, but also for the inspirational role they have played in their community as models of champions in charitable endeavors as well. The seven athletes have served the US by contributing their never ending leadership skills to benefit the youth of America.

Wheaties Spokesperson Bob Richards

The first spokesperson was chosen in 1958 and was Bob Richards. Richards has promoted physical fitness and athletic participation through the organization known as the Wheaties Sports Federation.

Wheaties Box Athlete Bob Richards

Wheaties Spokesperson, Bruce Jenner

In 1976 Bruce Jenner became the second Wheaties spokesperson and has tirelessly promoted physical fitness across the nation. Jenner is also a loyal supporter of the Special Olympics as well as numerous other charitable organizations.

Bruce Jenner Wheaties Box Athlete

Olympic Decathlon winner Bruce Jenner.
Olympic Decathlon winner Bruce Jenner.

First Women Wheaties Spokesperson, Mary Lou Retton

The third spokesperson for Wheaties is a woman, the famous gymnast Mary Lou Retton who captured the hearts of America for her performance in the 1984 Olympic Games. Retton continues to touch the lives of millions through her charitable work with the Children’s Miracle Network.

Wheaties Box Athlete Mary Lou Retton

Wheaties Box Athlete

Walter Payton, American Football Legend
Walter Payton, American Football Legend

Wheaties Box Athlete

Chris Evert, tennis champion.
Chris Evert, tennis champion.

Walter Payton, Another Wheaties Spokesperson

In 1986 football legend Walter Payton became the fourth Wheaties spokesperson. Peyton established the The Walter Payton Foundation in order to provide support for children’s educational programs as well as programs for abused and neglected children, and although Peyton has passed away his foundation continues to offer help and support to millions of children across America.

Chris Evert Another Wheaties Spokeperson who is a women.

The fifth Wheaties spokesperson to be named was Chris Evert. This spectacular tennis superstar was the winner of over 157 women’s single titles, including 18 Grand Slam events. Evert has been involved in numerous causes for children and has formed Chris Evert Charities, Inc., a nonprofit organization designed to help improve the lives of children, preserve and strengthen families, and promote healthy, drug-free lifestyles

Michael Jordan Wheaties Sixth Spokesperson

Michael Jordan, basketball legend and holder of six NBA Championship rings, five regular-season MVP awards and six NBA finals MVP crowns became the sixth Wheaties spokesperson. Jordan has supported numerous charitable organizations including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, UNCF (United Negro College Fund), Ronald McDonald House and the Special Olympics.

Michael Jordan Ate His Wheaties

Wheaties Box Athlete Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods appears on the cover of the Wheaties Box.
Tiger Woods appears on the cover of the Wheaties Box.

Tiger Woods Rounds Out the Wheaties Box Spokespersons

The seventh Wheaties box sensation and spokesperson to join this elite list is Tiger Woods, the golf sensation. In fact, Woods could easily be considered to be the greatest golfer of all times. Woods established the Tiger Woods Foundation in 1996 to help empower young people through the game of golf. The foundation awards numerous scholarships and organizes minority youth golf clinics in cities throughout the country.

Is the cover of the Wheaties Box up for grabs?

Although being a spokesperson for Wheaties is quite an honor, just being considered to be on the cover of the Wheaties box is something that is sought after by many athletes today. The list of past athletes includes many who are respected and honored in their field of expertise. After the 2004 Olympics Michael Phelps achieved the “Wheaties Box Athlete” fame, but for 2008 he has moved on to the original flake cereal, Corn Flakes.

I guess that leaves the Wheaties Box Athlete up for grabs for this Olympic year?

I nominate Bryan Clay for the new Wheaties Box Athlete!

The 2008 Olympic Gold medal Decathlon winner was from the US, a position that has been elusive for the US in recent years. This incredible athlete who competed in ten different track and field events over a period of two days is Bryan Clay. Clay joins the ranks with Bob Mathias, Rafer Jonnson, Bruce Jenner and DanO’Brien.

Gold Medal Olympic Decathlon Winner Bryan Clay

Bryan Clay right after winning the Decathlon in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Bryan Clay right after winning the Decathlon in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Clay just wants to be a Wheaties Box Athlete.

"I would love for the Wheaties box to happen," the 28-year-old Clay mused “that would be the next dream. But it's a different time now than it was when Jenner and those guys competed. In most countries, they know who the decathlon champion is, but in the US it's been pushed to the back burner. Hopefully, this will be a spark to the fire."

Phelps who has won the bill as the “greatest Olympic athlete” won eight gold medals competing in eight events. Clay won one gold medal competing in 10 events-the 100, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400, 110 hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and 1,500.

That is quite an impressive group of events, don’t you think?

The Hardest Thing Bryan Clay Has Ever Done

"It was brutal, it was just brutal," testified Clay. "It probably was the hardest decathlon I've ever done in my life, through all the extremes and weather conditions."

"Michael Phelps has got nothing on me," he declared. "Just kidding."

Make Bryan Clay a Wheaties Box Athlete!

All kidding aside, the Decathlon has been termed the event that produces “the greatest athlete in the world.” I believe that, if for nothing else but for that reason alone, Bryan Clay should be found among the ranks of the Wheaties Box Athletes.

What do you think?

More by this Author


Comments 38 comments

allshookup profile image

allshookup 8 years ago from The South, United States

Good hub. I love Mary Lou! She was always so positive and smiling. She is my all-time favorite in the Olympics. Keri Strugg brings tears to my eyes everytime I see her take that vault and Bella carry her off. This year, it was Shawn. She reminds me alot of Mary Lou, always smiling and positive. I still have the Wheaties box Michael Jordan was on. I'm sure they are kinda flat by now, but that's ok lol. Thanks for helping me remember good times. Keep up the good work!


jmmoore321 profile image

jmmoore321 8 years ago from Utah

Interesting hub about the history of the wheaties box athletes. I really think Bryan Clay should get it. He was looked over quite a bit at this Olympics and he deserves some honor!


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

allshookup,

I am with you, Shawn does remind me of Mary Lou Retton as well! The Wheaties Box cover has done an excellent job of memorializing our great athletes through the years. I hope that Bryan Clay will get his wish and be one of the Wheaties Box Athletes.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

jmmoore,

IMHO The Decathlon is one event in the Olympics among others that did not seem to get the coverage that it deserved. Bryan Clay is an incredible athlete, in fact he has earned the title of "the greatest athlete in the world" by his gold medal performance in the Olympic Decathlon this year. Wheaties... he should definitely make the box!


LdsNana-AskMormon profile image

LdsNana-AskMormon 8 years ago from Southern California

I'm all for having Bryan Clay on the front of the box of Wheaties that I purchase. This is an honor that he deserves, in regard to him winning Gold at the Olympics. Great hub!

tDMg

LdsNana-AskMormon


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Nana,

Yeah a vote for Bryan Clay, perhaps the fans will be heard!! He is a great Olympic Decathlon winner and should be honored. The Wheaties Box is his choice now that he has accomplished his other goal!

Thanks!


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey

Now this took me back--great hub......the Wheaties box has been the forgotten Olympic Tradition LOL


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Robie,

I agree... the Wheaties Box has been an Olympic tradition that must continue. I think it would be great to see the Decathlon winner on the cover once again! Go Bryan Clay!


Hub-Ninja profile image

Hub-Ninja 8 years ago from in the midwest somewhere

In 1996 I bought the some of the wheaties boxes I thought were cool. I was a college swimmer at the time. A pizza delivery guy saw them and couldn't believe anyone was dorky enough to actually care about and collect wheaties boxes. I guess he didn't get it.

I guess I am not afraid to be a dork in the name of Olympic glory!


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Hub-Ninja,

There are many people who are Wheaties Box collectors, you should check out the official Wheaties website that I have linked here. I was amazed at how many different athletes have been spotlighted on the Wheaties Box cover. You are right, the pizza delivery guy didn't get it at all.


Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

To tell the truth, I haven't seen a box of Wheaties in a long time. We shop at Aldis and they don't carry that cereal in our area. Still, I remember the Wheaties boxes from my youth. I used to cut out some of the athlete pictures for my wall.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Jeff,

I have always been a Wheaties fan myself. I do remember the old boxes and all the athletes that graced it's cover. I have been quizzing my sports freak friends about the seven spokespersons who represent Wheaties... it has been really fun to have them try and figure out who they are. Mary Lou Retton is always their first guess. Isn't that funny? lol


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

Funny how a box of cereal can jar your mind. Great hub! C.S.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

CS Alexis,

Thanks! I do think that Wheaties brings back fond memories for a lot of people!


02SmithA profile image

02SmithA 8 years ago from Ohio

I think Bryan Clay would be a terrific choice for the Wheaties box. Or maybe the Redeem Team?


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

02SmithA

The Redeem Team seems to be getting enough publicity already, IMHO. I would love to see Bryan Clay get the spot he desires and the Decathlon get some much needed PR.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Being on the box of Wheaties is a long-running tradition. In fact, my grandfather (who passed away last November) had his photo on a box... if only in jest. I understand there is a website at which you can order a custom box with your photo for fun! This was at least 20 years ago, but certainly, the fun continues to the present day.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Hi Steph,

I remember those pictures that were available at the fair, where you could pose and be placed on the Wheaties Box. How funny that is! The Wheaties Box athletes are such a great tradition, so I think that Bryan Clay would be a great one to keep it going. The first spokesperson was an Olympian in the Decathlon and pole vaulting... why not another?


a big fan 8 years ago

I think Bryan Clay would be a great choice for being on the Wheaties box. He is the Worlds Greatest Athlete!!!!!


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

A Big Fan,

I am with you... let's hope Wheaties takes notice of this great athlete and gives him the spot on the box! Go Bryan Clay, great gold medal Decathlon winner!


allshookup profile image

allshookup 8 years ago from The South, United States

The only one I have is the Michael Jordon one. Wish I had more of them.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Allshookup

Well watch for the two newest ones, Nastia and Bryan Clay. They just announced today that Bryan Clay will be on the Wheaties Box. Good for him! I bet some of those old boxes might be worth some money! lol


blueangels7 profile image

blueangels7 8 years ago

Michael Phelps not wanting to be a Wheaties Box Athlete is not the end of the world. I understand that it is a tradition, but in some ways I feel being a Wheaties Box Athlete is selling athletes short. Who is on the box besides the athlete? Kids. What great athletic feat or community service did they do to make it there? If it were just top athletes on the box, I could understand. It would be an honor to be among the greats on the box, not among the greats and random kids. It’s marketing them towards children, and crazed collectors. There needs to be other ways to be commemorated than to put them on a piece of cardboard. We need to remember them and their accomplishments, not just their face. Do you even remember what precisely other Wheaties Box Athletes accomplished? Not just their sport. Traditions sometimes die. Maybe we should end this one.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Blueangels7,

I think that the great athletes are honored on the Wheaties Box to show that they will be remembered. I do agree that it is a marketing and advertising campaign, but it has worked for so many years now it has become a tradition. It was really fun quizzing my friends and family about who they thought the 7 Wheaties Spokespersons would be. Amazingly enough they seemed to remember the greats. That to me says something in itself.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

I refuse to buy Kellogg/associated products on many principals, not the least of which was helping dethrone a decendant from psyh licensure and drug treatment board leadership for severe cause. Add this to waste, high prices, harming the environment and the historical fiction Road to Wellville (re: Kellogg), the tenets of which were forced on me as a young child long before the film or book ever were designed .... Soapbox, sorry... Shame on Phelps, perhaps, but he does not know. I stlll like him.

haha - pastor says to take money from the devil and use it for the good - does this apply for Mike? :)


swimquik 8 years ago

I think that Wheaties should hold a contest and get some normal person who love Wheaties to be on the box or something. Who aggres? Of course, I do love Michael Phelps, so....... GO MICHAEL PHELPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe he should be on the box. Anyway, see ya!


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Swimquik,

I am glad you have such a passion for Michael Phelps, I do think he is an incredible athlete as well. I am so happy for Bryan Clay who will be featured on the Wheaties Box. This is an honor for "normal people" who have shown extraordinary talents.


allshookup profile image

allshookup 8 years ago from The South, United States

I'll do that doghouse. Thanks :) Keep up the good work!


desert blondie profile image

desert blondie 8 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

Wonderful that Clay will be a Wheaties guy! How clairvoyant of you to have written this column before the news! Great memories of our athletes who push the boundaries and remind us all of our potentials!


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

desert blondie,

I was shocked when Bryan Clay was actually awarded the spot on the cover of the Wheaties Box, especially because I had written this Hub a few days before, as you can imagine. I am very happy for him and his success. This the the very dream he had hoped for!


passing through 8 years ago

Media and olympic committees, etc. are tying to reinstall Decathalon athletes overall as heroes. Wheaties box helps,


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Passing through,

I agree, the Wheaties Box promotion will help with that campaign.


solarshingles profile image

solarshingles 8 years ago from london

Diana, believe me or not, but I eat 'the Wheaties from the Box' on a daily basis. Just plain with milk and I am content for a while:) And I also need to say that I really adored Mary Lou Retton!


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California Author

Solar shingles,

Thanks for adding your endorsement of the great Wheaties Cereal. I do like the actual cereal as well as the Wheaties Box athletes. lol Mary Lou Retton is one of the favorites of many. I hope Bryan Clay will be able to become a favorite as well.


Larry D. Lee 6 years ago

Ellen G. White should be on the box of Wheaties even though she is not an athlete. The post office refused to give her a stamp in her honor even though she has written more books than any other author in America and has had more books translated in more than 100 languages and has sold more books than anyone male or female all with only a 3rd grade education. Not to mention she is a Seventh-day Adventist just like the founders of the Kellogs cerial. The Bible is the only book that has out sold her books named Steps to Christ and the Desire of Ages which the Library of Congress has called the best book on the life of Christ ever.


Phillyfreeze69 6 years ago

In 1999 I purchased a box of Wheaties with Muhammad Ali on the cover. The price was $1.98+ tax, on the back of box was a short biography of his amazing career(3 times world champion)his numerous humanitarian efforts, including establishment of the Muhammad Ali Parkinsons Research Center in Phoenix, Arizona. I still have the box but ate the Wheaties! www.alicenter.org


Johnb839 2 years ago

Farmville farms even include free gift that is especially designed for the neighbors on gcdeeeadcgdb


Pharmb625 2 years ago

Very nice site!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working