You know that you’ve made it when your face appears on a box of Wheaties cereal. America’s best athletes have appeared on the front of distinctive orange cover since 1934, when Lou Gehrig first graced the General Mills packaging.
Over the decades, “Breakfast of Champions” has maintained strong ties to the sports world through its marketing and kept up the tradition of using the cereal boxes to honor the great athletes of today and yesteryear. Former spokespeople for the brand include gymnast Mary Lou Renton, who was the first female to appear on the front of the box back in 1984 (the first woman depicted was aviator Elinor Smith in 1934), and Michael Jordan, who was appeared an impressive 18 times.
When it comes to MJ, everyone has a favorite box. We couldn’t pick one, but we especially love the “free poster” edition where he appears to be flying out of the packaging, and the one where he is soaring through the air in the Air Jordan V “Grape,” a classic colorway that Jordan was never able to wear on the court.
If there’s one glaring omission here it’s Jesse Owens, who in 1936 became the first black athlete to appear on the box. If anyone can find the original (as opposed to the later commemorative release), let us know!
Click through the above slideshow to see some of the most memorable athletes who have earned their place on a box of Wheaties.