Top 10 Multi-Sport Sportsmen
Italian football legend Paulo Maldini made his professional tennis debut recently as he competed in the doubles at the Aspira Tennis Cup in Milan. That got us here at FREEbets.org.uk thinking about more athletes that have dabbled with other sports and we've come up with our top 10.
10. Dwain Chambers
The London sprinter was more forced into an attempted change of sport than doing it out of choice as his drugs ban from athletics in 2003 saw him try and resurrect his sporting career elsewhere. He was signed by NFL Europa side Hamburg Sea Devils but they folded soon after, he then attempted a rugby league career with Castleford Tigers but they let him go without playing a game. He is now back in athletics and has won gold medals again in 60 metre indoor races.
9. Leon McKenzie
The former Norwich City midfielder has played in the Premier League but when his playing career came to an end he hadn’t had enough of contact sports and decided to follow his uncle and father into a boxing career. His uncle is Duke McKenzie the former world champion so he has a great example to follow and has won eight of his nine fights to date.
8. Michael Boulding
One of the more unusual routes into a sporting career was taken by Sheffield’s Michael Boulding who looked set to become a pro tennis player before giving it up to pursue his passion for football. He had been ranked in the top 20 British players with a racket but went on to turn out for the likes of Aston Villa, Cardiff City and Barnsley.
7. Arnie Sidebottom
Father of current cricketer Ryan, Arnie managed to play for both Manchester United and Huddersfield Town in a football career spanning seven years and for Yorkshire and briefly England between 1973 and 1991. His one test for his country came around in ’85 although wasn’t altogether successful as he took 65-1 and scored two runs.
6. Lawrence Okoye
The youngster from Croydon is one of the most multi-talented sportsmen from the UK at the moment having been in the academies of rugby union sides London Irish and Wasps, competed in the discuss at the 2012 Olympics. Since then he has embarked on a career playing American football, though his NFL dream has not quite taken off. He's currently registered with the Miami Dolphins though time is still on his side to make a success of things yet.
5. Victoria Pendleton
One of Britain's most successful ever Olympians, Victoria Pendleton won two gold and one silver medals throughout her career. As a track cyclist, she competed in the sprint, team sprint and keirin and won numerous other titles at Commonwealth, European and World levels before ultimately retiring from the sport following the 2012 Olympics in London. She then decided to embark on a career in another type of racing, this time on horseback. Under the guidance of Paul Nicholls she made her debut at Ripon in 2015 before finishing fifth in the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham Festival the following year.
4. Curtis Woodhouse
Another man who has ditched the football pitch and taken to the boxing ring and has even done a bit of both at the same time. His primary success in football came with Sheffield United in the late ‘90s making over 100 appearances but in his mid-twenties he lost interest in the game and attempted a boxing career. His career in the ring saw him win domestic titles at light-welterweight and a record of 22 wins from his 29 bouts.
3. Sir Ian Botham
Beefy will forever be known as one of England's greatest ever cricketers, making 102 test appearances for his country. A top class all-rounder, he captained England to an incredible victory in the third test of the 1981 Ashes series when the bookies were offering odds of 5,000/1 as the home side faced the follow on at Headingley. However a little less known is his professional football career, having turned out 11 times for his beloved Scunthorpe United.
2. Vitali Klitshcko
Although there is clearly some crossover the fact that the Ukrainian has been a multiple world champion in both kickboxing and boxing is an incredible achievement. Vitali won both amateur and professional world title in kickboxing before turning his hands to boxing where he went on to become the eighth longest reigning heavyweight champion of all time. Along with younger brother Wladimir, the brothers dominated the heavyweight scene for years before Vitali eventually decided to turn his head to politics and become the Mayor of Kiev.
1. Dennis Compton
Arguably England’s most famous dual-sportsmen, Compton is one of the country’s greatest ever cricketers but also a fabulous footballer before a knee injury curtailed his career on the pitch. He played 78 tests for his country and finished with a batting average of over 50 having scored 17 centuries. He also turned out over 50 times for Arsenal winning the league and the FA Cup in the process.