The Orange County lifestyle is infectious. Everyone who experiences the world class attractions, the weather that’s second to none or the phenomenal scenery, longs to stay and drink in every drop. A select few who visit, decide to stay and make a home in the Orange County area. Some of those people who have encountered this area are world-class athletes. Here are some of the famous athletes who call this place home.
Eldrick “Tiger” Woods
While residing in Florida as of late, the world’s No. 1 golfer shared some of his first successes with his father at the Navy Golf Course in Cypress. The graduate of Western High School in Anaheim went out of county for college. After graduating Stanford and turning pro, Woods kept his ties to the Orange County area by establishing the Tiger Woods Foundation based in Irvine. One of the businesses that the foundation handles is the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim.
The lifelong Laker, world champion, gold medalist, and future Hall of Famer resides in Orange County. Rumor has it that he and his wife, Vanessa, toyed with the idea of living in the gated community of Coto De Caza but settled eventually on a home on the Newport Coast. Although their real estate portfolio in the Newport area has fluctuated, reaching a high of three properties at one point. They’ve reduced that count since late last year, but their presence is still something to be talked about.
The record books are full of world-class baseball names that call Orange County home. Some might say that the most famous of them is longtime Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. Although Tommy Lasorda only played three years in Major League Baseball (two of them with the Dodgers) his bust is in Cooperstown for his managerial career. Inducted before the standard waiting period, Lasorda’s entrance would have been well worth any wait as his name has become almost synonymous with Dodgers baseball over the course of his 20-year career at the helm.
Amanda Ray Beard was an Olympic medalist at age 14. She was soon to become a World Record holder and go on to win five gold medals in her storied career. Amanda got her start in a pool in Irvine and swam for the Novaquatics team before being recognized as a serious contender on the world stage. Battling alcohol and body image issues as chronicled in her autobiography “In The Water They Can’t See You Cry,” she has since conquered those issues and has since retired from competitive swimming and is raising a family with photographer Sacha Brown.
If there were a Mount Rushmore of MMA, there is no way that Tito Ortiz doesn’t make the cut. Along with Ken Shamrock, and Randy Couture, Tito pioneered the sport and was on top when the sport gained prominence. This Santa Ana native began his MMA career as a sparring partner of Tank Abbot, while still enrolled at Golden West College in Westminster in 1997. From that fight, Ortiz began a meteoric rise, culminating in his reign as king of the Light Heavyweight Division of UFC from April 2000 to September 2003. Since his retirement, Tito has become the CEO of Punishment MMA clothing and Equipment line and has opened Punishment Training Center in Huntington Beach.
Follow Josh Calvert on Twitter @JoshCalvert10.