Elite athletes are just like us: They watch and buy products from ABC's "Shark Tank."
At least, Josh Pauls does. The sled hockey player – a three-time Paralympic gold medalist for Team USA, who's looking to add a fourth gold medal to his tally in Beijing next month – says he's bought "quite a few things" from the show, including silicon containers to freeze soup and a machine that makes canned and bottled beers taste like draft beers.
The beer machine, in particular, is "pretty impressive," Pauls, 29, says.
But Pauls doesn't just buy into the show's products – he also admires the Sharks themselves.
Get a weekly recap of the latest San Francisco Bay Area housing news. Sign up for NBC Bay Area’s Housing Deconstructed newsletter.
His favorite investor, he says, is a tie: "I really love Robert [Herjavec] because he invests in people that he's passionate about – but I love how Kevin [O'Leary] stirs the pot and kind of mediates everything. He's always egging others on and trying to get people to either take the deal or push for a deal with someone else."
Pauls isn't the only "Shark Tank" fan among Paralympians and Olympians. In an October 2019 episode, track Olympian Jared Ward pitched "The Meteor," a heated, vibrating massage therapy ball. He and his fellow co-founders walked away with a $150,000 deal from Lori Greiner.
If Pauls were to appear on the show, he says, he'd consider pitching his family's tomato sauce recipe. "My mom taught me how to make it, and my grandmother taught her to make it," he says. "Since it's a family recipe, I think it would be cool to share that with the world."
In the meantime, he's sticking to watching and buying products off the show. Here are two of his favorite purchases so far:
$19.95 for a 2-cup tray
Husband-and-wife duo Michelle and Jake Sendowski launched Souper Cubes, which makes large ice-tray look-alikes, as better way to store leftover soup. The co-founders appeared on "Shark Tank" in a March 2021 episode, showcasing their product as "the best way to freeze food in perfect proportions" while "reducing food waste."
The Sharks were impressed by Souper Cubes' revenue: In 2019, its first full year of sales, Souper Cubes made $940,000. Ultimately, the Sendowskis earned Greiner's elusive golden ticket, which she gives away once per season, at most. It's redeemable for the exact deal the entrepreneurs requested, and in this case, the Sendowskis asked for $400,000 for 5% equity in Souper Cubes.
Online, Souper Cubes' products come in multiple sizes, ranging from 1 ounce to 2 cups. The lids are made from BPA-free plastic, and the trays are made from food-grade silicone with steel-lined rims to make the product sturdy, according to the company's website.
$129.99 for the Fizzics Original
Co-founders Philip Petracca and David McDonald were passionate about two things: beer and physics. So, they combined them into a business.
The former technologists invented the Fizzics beer dispenser to make canned and bottled beer taste like it came from a tap. Or, as they pitched on a September 2016 "Shark Tank" episode, "the world's first portable draft-beer system."
You start by putting a can, bottle or growler of beer into the machine, which is powered by four AA batteries. Then, the machine "utilizes soundwaves" to "perfect the density, stability and texture of the foam" for which draft beers are known.
In the "Shark Tank" episode, Mark Cuban noted that a Fizzics pour "was definitely smoother, definitely better" than a standard hand pour. But it was the sales figures that piqued the Sharks' interests: In eight months of shipping product, the co-founders said they made $3.2 million in revenue.
Herjavec and O'Leary made offers, but ultimately, the co-founders left with a deal for $2 million, split between Cuban and Greiner for a 16.67% stake in Fizzics.
Since its "Shark Tank" appearance, Fizzics has released additional models beyond its original design, including a slimmer version that only holds up to 750 milliliter bottles, but can be powered by a USB connection or two AA batteries, according to the company's website.
Watch the Winter Olympics Feb. 3-20 on NBC and Peacock.
Disclosure: CNBC Make It parent company NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the U.S. broadcast rights holder to all Summer and Winter Games through 2032.
Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."
Sign up now: Get smarter about your money and career with our weekly newsletter