Here is a list of famous athletes who became politicians

Here is a list of famous athletes who became politicians

Babu Tendu

It is not surprising that there are so many athletes who go on to become politicians later in life because athletes naturally make good leaders. While many professional footballers decide to relax and reap the fruits of their careers, these players decided to change the political structure of their respective countries.

Athletes who became politicians
From footballers to boxers, some professional sportsmen turned to politics after they retired from the sport. Photo by Yves Herman. (Modified by author).
Source: Getty Images

Some athletes became governors, presidents, prime ministers and many other political posts in their home countries. People like George Weah and Arnold Schwarzenegger are some of the famous athletes who have opted for politics after their professional careers.

Professional athletes who became politicians

There are many professional athletes turned politicians. Many NBA players became politicians. However, this post will focus on the ten most famous and influential among them.

10. Jean-Paul Adam

At age nine, Adam started swimming as therapy after an accident. He soon started swimming in the seas. He was given a spot on the nation's swimming team in 1987 thanks to his training and talent. He is one of the politicians who were athletes.

Adam represented Seychelles internationally and earned three medals: a bronze in the 1993 Indian Ocean Games, a silver in the 1998 games, and a third bronze in the 2003 games. He also earned a bronze medal at the 1999 African Games in Johannesburg. Adams also took part in the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992.

He held senior government positions and a career in diplomacy before being named Seychelles' Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2010. In 2015, he was appointed minister of finance, trade, and the blue economy. In 2016, he was appointed minister of health and social affairs; in 2017, he was appointed minister of health.

9. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has successfully transitioned from sports to the government, possibly the best in India. Rathore, one of the nation's best shooters, won the silver medal in double trap at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. He is one of the famous athletes who became a politician.

Sportsperson turned politician
Pankaj Tripathy (R) receives an award from Smriti Irani (L) as Minister of Youth Affairs, and Sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore looks on in New Delhi on May 3, 2018. Photo by Money Sharma
Source: Getty Images

After leaving the Indian Army and retiring from sports, Rathore entered the government. He ran for the Lower House of Parliament in the 2014 general elections as a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from the Jaipur Rural constituency. From the same constituency, he was re-elected in the general elections of 2019.

8. Seiko Hashimoto

One of the few female athletes who became officials, Hashimoto has equally excelled in both fields. The legendary Japanese speed skater presided over the 2020 Tokyo Olympics' organising committee. After Greece's Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, who led the Athens Olympics in 2004, Hashimoto became the second woman in the world to hold the position of president of an Olympic organising committee when she was given the position.

Athletes who are now politicians
Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto observes a minute of silence during a Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics cultural event on July 17, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Yuichi Yamazaki.
Source: Getty Images

In the Cabinet of the then-prime minister Tar As, she was appointed senior vice-minister for foreign affairs in 2008. In the LDP Shadow Cabinet, she was appointed minister for measures to combat the declining birthrate, sports, and gender equality in 2010.

7. Dwight D. Eisenhower

While attending West Point, the 36th President of the United States participated in numerous sports. He was not selected for the basketball team, but in 1912 he participated in varsity football. He is one of the celebrities who became a politician.

Football players who became politicians
Official portrait of President Dwight D Eisenhower by James Anthony Wills, 1966, from the White House Collection, Washington DC. Photo by GraphicaArtis.
Source: Getty Images

He started competing in fencing and gymnastics after sustaining a knee injury. After serving in Europe as a Supreme Allied Commander during World War II, Eisenhower entered politics in 1948. In 1953, he was elected president and served two terms until 1961.

6. Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura

Former professional wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota. Ventura is one of the select few who achieved immense fame as a sporting figure and an elected leader in one of the top political positions in his country. The US has produced many athletes who went on to become politicians.

NBA players who became politicians
Rear view of former pro-wrestler-turned-governor Jesse The Body Ventura in 1999. Photo by Steve Liss.
Source: Getty Images

His time with the WWF (now WWE), where he was well known for his flashy attire, including feather boas, leotards with leopard skin, and sequins, brought him his greatest sporting success. Ventura earned fame and fortune through wrestling in the 1970s and 1980s, and he later worked as a commentator for the WWF.

He made his big-screen debut in 1987's Predator, co-starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Blain Cooper. He entered politics three years later and was elected mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. He was a sportsperson turned politician.

5. Tarō Asō

Asō, the longest-serving finance minister and deputy prime minister in postwar Japanese history, is currently the vice president of the LDP. Since being first elected to the Diet in 1979, he has served as a member of the House of Representatives ten times.

Professional athletes turned politicians
Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso makes a speech during a reception attended by King Charles in 2019, in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Chris Jackson.
Source: Getty Images

Asō's most well-known accomplishment outside of the government and his family business is as a skilled shooter. In his prime, he spent more than a decade competing at the highest level on the national stage. His shooting prowess got him into the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

4. Jim Bunning

Bunning won 224 games and struck out 2,855 batters in a 17-year MLB career while pitching for five different teams between 1955 and 1971. He pitched two no-hitters, including a perfect game in 1964, and was selected to nine All-Star teams.

Celebrities who became politicians
Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) during an Armed Forces Committee hearing on January 1, 2000. Photo by Harry Hamburg.
Source: Getty Images

Bunning was elected by the Veterans Committee to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. He first entered the government in 1980, serving from 1980 to 1984 as a senator from Kentucky. From 1987 to 1999, he served in the Kentucky House of Representatives. From 1999 to 2011, he served as the state's senator once more.

3. Napoleon Harris

Harris, who was selected by the Raiders, Vikings, and Chiefs as the 23rd overall pick in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft, was a linebacker. In 2000 and 2001 at Northwestern, Harris was named to the second team All-Big Ten. Harris, an Illinois senator since 2013 and a former player, is still in office. He is one of the football players who became a politician.

Professional athletes who became politicians
Napoleon Harris of the Kansas City Chiefs poses for his 2008 NFL headshot at photo day in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Getty Images.
Source: Instagram

2. Manny Pacquiao

Throughout his career as a boxer, Pacquiao, one of the greatest ever, has also been active in Philippine politics. From 2010 to 2016, he was a member of the Philippine House of Representatives, member. In 2016, he was elected to the Senate. In his career as a professional boxer, Pacquiao has a record of 62-7-2. He is one of the pro athletes who became politicians.

Pro athletes who became politicians
Manny Pacquiao attends the charity marathon event to provide shelter for the children in the Philippines at City Football Station on May 22, 2022, in Tochigi, Japan. Photo by Jun Sato.
Source: Getty Images

1. George Weah

The illustrious Liberian footballer, one of the greatest athletes to enter politics, is currently leading his nation as its 25th president. He is one of the athletes who became president. Weah, who was born on October 1st, 1966, in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, began playing football at a young age with homemade rag balls. He was signed by French Ligue 1 club Monaco after a string of early successes in Africa.

Athletes who became presidents
President of Liberia George Weah during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between USA and Wales at Al Rayyan Stadium on November 21, 2022, in Doha, Qatar. Photo by Harold Cunningham.
Source: Getty Images

The striker contributed significantly to the team's victories over the course of his five-year tenure with the club, which spanned from 1988 to 1992. This included helping the team win the Coupe de France in 1991. He is one of the most athletic politicians.

From 1992 to 1995, Weah, a France superstar, was a Paris Saint-Germain player (PSG). His prolific goal-scoring during this time helped the team win the Ligue 1 (1994), Coupe de la Ligue (1993 and 1995), and the Coupe de France (1995). Additionally, he led the 1994–1995 UEFA Champions League in goals scored.

Athletes who became politicians include George Weah and Manny Pacquiao. These former athletes took a leap of faith and decided to use their leadership skills to improve the state of the people in their country by taking leadership posts.

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