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We profile 10 of the most memorable multi-sport athletes

| 21.09.2017

Being good at a single sport is one thing. But what about being good at a whole bunch of them?

It’s rarely seen, and few have tried it. And even fewer have managed it successfully.

But there are a few names which stand out – for varying reasons.

And here we run you through 10 of the more memorable cross-sports athletes…

Michael Jordan

Where else could we start but with Michael Jordan and arguably the most famous cross-sports switch of them all?

Jordan shocked the world in 1993 by announcing he was quitting the Chicago Bulls and the NBA, and just a few short months later he was an MLB man with the White Sox.

But although plenty have played both sports with success, Jordan wasn’t to be one of them.  And after just a year in the MLB, MJ was back with the Bulls in 1995.

Ian Botham

Widely regarded as England cricket’s finest all-rounder, Ian Botham wasn’t to be a man confined to just one sport.

As well as inspiring the famous fight-back in the 1981 Ashes, Beefy was a handy footballer, turning out in the Football League for Scunthorpe United.

Sonny Bill Williams

You just wouldn’t mess with Sonny Bill Williams, would you?

The New Zealander began his career with Rugby League’s NRL, before switching to Union and a famous move to French heavyweights Toulon.

After five years he was back in League, and is one of a handful of players to have won the World Cup in both.

Oh, and during his time as a world-class rugby player, Williams became a heavyweight boxer. He won all of his six fights.

Adam Hollioake

A first class cricketer with Essex, Surrey and England, Adam Hollioake makes his way onto this list thanks to his post-cricket career exploits.

Not many would swap the local village green for the ring, but that’s what Hollioake has done, taking up Boxing and MMA since hanging up his gloves and bat.

Denis Compton

A real superstar of British cross-sports, Denis Compton is an England cricket legend and an FA Cup winner. Now that’s not something many, if any other people, can boast.

Compton appeared in 78 Tests for England across a 20-year career, averaging 50.06 while knocking in 17 centuries.

And on the football field Compton was a fine winger for Arsenal, helping the Gunners win two league titles and the 1950 FA Cup.

With most of his football career denied by the Second World War, his statistics could have been far greater than 15 goals in 54 games for the North Londoners.

John Surtees  

Many have tried, but only one man can claim to be a World Champion on both two wheels and four – John Surtees.

It’s a remarkable testament to the Englishman, who utterly dominated the motorcycling Grand Prix scene.

He landed a hat-trick of 350cc and 500cc titles, before making the switch to cars in 1960.

In an era when four wheels was no safer than two, Surtees went up against the best of the day, winning the Formula One world championship with Ferrari in 1964 to complete a famous – and unique – double achievement.

Jackie Stewart

You wouldn’t ordinarily pitch clay pigeon shooting and motor racing together, but then that’s Jackie Stewart.

Stewart won British, Irish, Welsh and Scottish clay shooting championships, and almost made it into Great Britain’s Olympics team in 1960.

Quickly moving on to racing, the Scot rose through the ranks in the early 1960s. An F1 driver by 1965, Stewart took the sport to another level, winning three world championships in just eight years.

Rebecca Romero

Rebecca Romero is easily one of Great Britain’s finest athletes of the 21st century.

Initially a rower, Romero won silver in the quadruple sculls at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

A Gold at the 2005 World Championships soon followed, before concerns over back injuries saw her switch to cycling.

But the move proved to be of no concern, and Romero became the British woman ever to compete in two different Olympic sports when she entered the individual pursuit in Beijing.

What’s more, she won it.

Curtis Woodhouse

A £1m pound player who – briefly – made it in the Premier League, Curtis Woodhouse swapped football boots for boxing gloves in 2006.

And credit where credit’s due, it wasn’t some gimmick. The former midfielder posted 23 wins and seven losses, ending it as a British light-welterweight champion in 2014.

Simen Agdestein

A cross-sports switch can come in all shapes, sizes, styles and formats.

So say hello to Chess Grand Master and Norwegian international footballer Simen Agdestein.

Agdestein is a seven-time Norwegian chess champion and former coach of Magnus Carlson – the former world champion.

And during his Chess peak in the late-1980s, Agdestein was a striker for Norway outfit Lyn. At 6ft 2in he was quite a handful up front, netting 43 times for the Oslo-based side, while also making eight international appearances.



Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.