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Athletes who swapped sports like Usain Bolt, Bradley Wiggins and Michael Jordan and how they got on – The Sun

IT'S not just Usain Bolt, you know?

The legendary sprinter might have hung up his running spikes in 2017, but he did try his hand in the world of football.


Aussie club Central Coast Mariners gave Usain, then 32, the opportunity to trial with them during preseason to live out his footballing dreams.

Sadly for the Jamaican, it wasn't to be. But he isn't the only sportsman who decided to give up what they're good at and try their hand (or foot) at something different.

SunSport presents athletes who have swapped sports, sometimes with terrible consequences.

After all, as the saying goes, perhaps you should stick to what you're good at!


Michael Jordan

As far as basketball goes, the man is a living legend. Purists will argue LeBron James isn't a patch on the man on the court.

But in 1993, after winning his third successive NBA Championship, 'His Airness' decided to to break in to baseball in the minor leagues, a wish his dad had had for his son.

He signed a contract with Chicago White Sox, played for their affiliate club Birmingham Barons, before representing Scottsdale Scorpions. He retired in 1995 and returned to the NBA.

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Ivan Lendl was a former world no.1 tennis proCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
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However, he thought golf was his next calling and reached a 0 handicapCredit: AFP

Ivan Lendl

A former world No.1, the Czech tennis god won eight majors and was runner-up a record 11 times.

There was no doubting his ability with a tennis racket, so he felt like taking up a challenge of playing golf when he retired in 1994.

And he scored some success, reportedly reaching a handicap of 0 and competing in his fair share of celebrity golf tournaments, including his own.


Fabien Barthez

The madcap French goalie, famed for his outrageous antics on the pitch for his country and at Man United, needed to find a thrill when he quit football.

Being a man who loved fast cars, Barthez decided to venture into the world of motorsport.

Incredibly, he has competed in four LeMans races after taking up the sport in 2008.


Tim Weise

They're right what they say, you have to be slightly mad to be a goalkeeper.

Like Barthez, the German shotstopper needed to find another thrill… he thought he'd step into the ring with the WWE's finest in 2014.

Weise appeared as a guest timekeeper at a WWE live event in Frankfurt, then made his debut with Seamus and Cesaro in 2016, defeating The Shining Star and Bo Dallas.


Sir Bradley Wiggins

Because winning the World and Olympic championships on both the track and the road, as well as the Tour de France just isn't enough for this champ.

But back in June in 2017, 'Wiggo' said he was going to take up rowing on a serious basis, using Olympic champ James Cracknell as his coach.

Wiggins has competed in the British Rowing Indoor Championships, finishing 21st after making a slow start because he thought the race had false started, before jacking it in.


Julian Dicks

The hardman of football, and West Ham legend, Dicks never did anything in halves.

And when he had to call time (he once owned a pub too) on his career in 2000, he tried golf.

Sadly, he got frustrated about his own ability, breaking a few clubs along the way, and a long-standing knee injury meant he gave up that short-lived dream.


Sonny Bill Williams

Well, he used to intimidate opponents performing the haka with New Zealand, so no wonder he thought he could do it in the ring.

Sonny switched playing with oval ball and strapped on a pair of boxing gloves to become a heavyweight fighter in 2009.

He was a good one too, unbeaten in his seven fights becoming New Zealand's heavyweight champion, before deciding to return to rugby union.


Victoria Pendleton

A two-time Olympic gold-winning cyclist, Pendleton got off her bike to sit on a saddle.

Amazingly, she learned how to ride in just 12 months, competing in her first race in 2015.

Then, the following year, she won her first race at Wincanton and placed fifth in a race at the Cheltenham Festival, calling it "probably the greatest achievement of my life."


Dame Sarah Storey

Sarah's story is a remarkable one. At the Barcelona Paralympics she won six medals in the pool a the age of just 14.

She continued to swim until 2005, winning five golds, eight silvers and three bronzes.

But a series of ear infections meant she swapped the pool for cycling. She became a Dame in 2013, and is considered Britain's greatest ever Paralympian.


Rebecca Romero

Cycling seems to be the go-to sport. Romero was a successful rower, winning silver at 2004 Olympics and gold at the World Championships a year later.

However, after a niggling back injury forced her retirement, she had to try something else.

Romero grabbed a bike and in 2008 became the first woman to win a medal in two different Olympic sports. Incidentally, it was a gold one.


Paolo Maldini

Arguably the greatest defender of all time, the Italian footballer was a legend for AC Milan and his national team and won everything you can imagine.

But, some nine years after he retired, he entered a doubles event at an ATP Challenger tournament in Milan.

Maldini's tennis career lasted just 43 minutes as he was beaten 6-1 6-1 in the first round. He said: "Those who know sport know very well that it's impossible to invent yourself as a professional from one day to the next."

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Curtis Woodhouse fights off the attentions of David Beckham during his footballing daysCredit: Getty Images – Getty
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After Woodhouse retired from football, he took up boxing and has fought 31 timesCredit: Action Images – Reuters

Curtis Woodhouse

A former England under-21 international, the former Sheffield United midfielder hung up his boots and entered the boxing arena after "falling out of love with football".

He made his boxing debut in 2006, in a welterweight contest, beating Dean Marcantonio on points after knocking his opponent down on the canvas twice.

Woodhouse fought 31 times, winning 24 times (13 KOs) and seven losses.

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