Professional athletes and "the club" are like peanut butter and jelly or peas and carrots—they just go together. The pressure of competitive sports can be extremely intense, so it's no wonder that many athletes like to hit the club to celebrate their victory with friends or drown their sorrows in booze and broads.
It's a win-win proposition for everyone. They get to have their fun, and we get to be entertained by the photos of a life we'll never have. In fact, at the recent Olympics in London, there was no competitive event more entertaining than the hilarious pictures of athletes partying that hit the news most every morning.
So let's take a look at some of the wildest photos of Olympians, and non-Olympians, blowing off some steam at (or in the general vicinity of) da club.
Not only did American swimmer Michael Phelps show off plenty of new Olympic hardware at the 2012 games in London, he also took the opportunity to show off his girlfriend, model Megan Rossee, to the watching world.
Phelps tried to make a stealthy late-night exit from the Speedo Party at Kensington Roof Gardens with his girlfriend of five months, but he was unable to avoid the prying eye of the paparazzi. Rossee was sitting on Phelps' lap as the car sped off.
Bulls legend Michael Jordan may have retired from the game, but he isn't exactly settling into a quiet existence. His Airness landed himself a young hottie in Yvette Prieto, and the two have been engaged since late 2011.
MJ obviously has no problem keeping up with his woman; the two were spotted leaving a Miami hotspot after celebrating Prieto's birthday in March 2009. Apparently they got home safe, which is kind of surprising from the looks of this photo.
It's no wonder that PGA stud Rory McIlroy and tennis star Caroline Wozniacki got together in 2011—they both know how to party. In March 2010, Wozniacki hit up the Sony Ericsson Open Kick-Off party at the LIV nightclub in Miami.
Sprint canoeing isn't exactly the sexiest sport at the summer Olympics, but a gold medal is a gold medal. South African sprint canoer Bridgette Hartley won gold in London and hit the Chinawhite nightclub, gold medal in hand, to celebrate the victory.
The cyclists of team Great Britain had a very impressive Olympics on their home soil. Dani King, Lizzie Armistead and Alistair Brownlee were among their many gold medalists. The threesome hit London hotspot Chinawhite night club to celebrate.
The three were obviously in good spirits. No word on how far into the night the threesome stuck together.
In June 2009, Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo hit up Hollywood hot spot Beso with his entourage. Ronaldo eventually emerged looking as greasy and bronzed as ever and piled into an awaiting vehicle. Upon entering said vehicle, Ronaldo was very careful to lead with his purse.
We've all been here before. It's the middle of the night, and the only calories you've had since the sun was out have come from alcohol. The only option is to further poison your body with an excessive amount of fast food.
The former heavyweight champion of the world Evander Holyfield has obviously been there before too, because that's exactly what he did late one evening in London's West End. Holyfield was in town for the Olympics.
Alex Morgan may be all business on the pitch, but it's not all work and no play for America's soccer sweetheart. Morgan celebrated her body painted appearance in the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue at Haze nightclub at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas in February 2012.
French sprint hurdler Garfield Darien failed to medal at the 2012 Olympics in London, but it doesn't look like he took the loss to heart. Darien hit up the Chinawhite nightclub in London and was seen joking with the paparazzi after enjoying a night with his friends.
Long before the dumpster fire that was Kim Kardashian's "marriage" to Nets forward Kris Humphries, she was doing the ground and pound with then-Saints running back Reggie Bush. I know—that was gross.
In March 2009 the couple, along with Kim's now estranged bestie Brittny Gastineau, hit up the Wet Republic Pool Party at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Zara Phillips, the granddaughter of the freaking Queen of England, won a silver medal in equestrian at the 2012 Olympics in London. Unsurprisingly, she took to the streets of her hometown to celebrate her royal victory.
But in a very unroyal move, she kicked off her heels and decided to brave the sidewalks of London in her bare feet. Something tells me Queen Elizabeth II would not approve.
Seahawks wide receiver Terrell Owens may have been unemployed in February 2011, but he didn't let that get in the way of having a good time.
T.O. hit up some ridiculous party celebrating made up things that was hosted by terrible tennis player Andy Roddick.
If you're going through a divorce: Forget the pints of ice cream, bottles of white wine and crying while watching The Notebook on TBS. Just give tennis superstar Serena Williams a jingle, and she'll take you out for a night on the town.
At least she will if you're singer Christina Milian. In July 2010, Williams took Milian out to drown her sorrows at Angels & Kings in Hollywood. At the time Milian was in the midst of a divorce from then-husband The Dream.
Legendarily bronzed wrestler Hulk Hogan took his handle bar mustache out for a night on the town to celebrate their 58th birthday in April 2011. Also accompanying Hulk's mustache at the Cafeina Lounge in Miami were his daughter Brooke and his girlfriend who looks exactly like his daughter Brooke.
So he's out on the town with his daughter and her cougar equivalent, being smooched by both of them, and for some reason, Brooke's name is on his birthday cake. Anyone else wondering what's up?
Prior to her stint on ABC's Dancing with the Stars in 2011, U.S. women's soccer superstar goalkeeper Hope Solo got together with fellow cast members at the Next Door Lounge in Los Angeles. It definitely looks like she had a good time.
2012 has definitely been the year of LeBron James. The Heat superstar won his third NBA MVP, his first NBA championship and his second Olympic gold medal. But don't you worry about LeBron working too hard; he knows how to stop and enjoy the view.
After capturing gold at the 2012 Olympics in London, LeBron hit the clubs with other members of Team USA to enjoy the spoils of their victory.
One question: Is that LeBron's face on LeBron's shirt?
When Posh Spice is away, David Beckham will play. Actually, I don't even know if wife Victoria was away at the time, but she certainly was nowhere in sight when Becks was spotted leaving the Arts Club in London after 3:00 a.m. in December 2011.
Beckham was accompanied by comedian James Corden as well as another friend, and the trio had reportedly been drinking with Prince Harry earlier in the night. Something tells me this night ended in a way that would make Mrs. Beckham angry.
No championship? No worries. At least not for Lakers bow-throwing agitator Metta World Peace. While the Thunder were taking on the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, MWP was in Vancouver taking on the mic to entertain the crowd with some of his lyrical wizardry.
I have absolutely no idea if Irish phenom Rory McIlroy is "the next Tiger Woods," although I suspect he isn't. But what I do know is that McIlroy sure knows how to celebrate a victory.
After a crushing win at the 2011 U.S. Open, a damp McIlroy spent the night celebrating by drinking (what is likely Jagermeister) straight from his trophy. All with an audience looking on.
Legendary NBA big man Shaquille O'Neal broke off his engagement to Nicole "Hoopz" Alexander in March 2012. Hoopz was said to have taken the news pretty hard and reportedly was helped out of Shaq's house by his security team.
Shaq, on the other hand, took the news pretty well. Two weeks later he was celebrating his birthday, and newfound single status, at PURE nightclub in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, it looks like he's still trying that rapping thing.
American swimmer Michael Phelps added plenty of hardware to his Olympic medal collection while in London, but did anyone have a better Olympics in 2012 than Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt? After a sub-par performance the Olympic trials, Bolt rebounded in a big way and successfully defended both his 100m and 200m sprinting titles.
And of course he did what any one of us would have done to celebrate—hit the town, hit the bottle and hit the dance floor with an endless bevy of British beauties. Bolt was spotted leaving the Movida nightclub in London not long before dawn.
I live in Washington D.C., so I've long been aware of Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin's affinity for some impromptu spinning. Since they let him do whatever he wants in clubs in D.C., it should be no surprise that clubs in Russia let him do whatever he wants. Ovi is basically the king of Russia.
In July 2009, an epic set of Ovi party photos hit the interwebs. On hand for the two-day party at The Paradise Club were NHL great Sergei Fedorov and Capital disappointment Alexander Semin.
Times change. Seasons change. Really, after enough time, almost everything changes. In an ever changing world, there's only one thing that you can count on to remain the same: Dennis Rodman.
In June 2011, the former Bulls bad boy donned some ladies' lingerie and celebrated his 50th birthday in style at the AXELounge in Southampton, N.Y.
America's favorite bro swimmer Ryan Lochte got some gold at the 2012 Olympics in London. He also got wasted and probably got laid—assuming he didn't pass out first.
Lochte was spotted stumbling out of The Rose Club in London with another swimmer, Conor Dwyer, and a couple of lovely ladies. The foursome hopped into their waiting ride and dashed off.
Not only did Belgian track cyclist Gijs Van Hoecke fail to medal at the 2012 Olympics, he didn't even get to stick around for the closing ceremonies.
After competing in his two events, Van Hoecke decided to kick back with his homies at a London nightclub. And when I say "kick back," I mean get blackout drunk and emerge from the club sopping wet, being dragged by his friends.
After The Daily Mail published the photos of the event, the Belgian Olympic Committee deemed Van Hoecke's conduct "deplorable" and removed him from the Olympics.
What a bunch of prudes.