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As Usain Bolt moves closer to his dream of being a professional footballer, here are other stars who’ve switched sports

Usain Bolt in action at Soccer Aid
Usain Bolt in action at Soccer Aid

USAIN BOLT’S dream of becoming a professional footballer has moved a step closer after earning an “indefinite” trial at Central Coast Mariners.

The eight-time Olympic champion has expressed his desire to move into football following his retirement from athletics and will train with the A League side to try and earn a contract.

A statement from the Australian club read: “The Central Coast Mariners can today confirm that Usain Bolt has committed to an indefinite training period with the club, with the aim to develop the ‘world’s fastest man’ into a professional footballer.”

Bolt said on Central Coast Mariners’ official website: “I am very excited about coming to Australia and would like to thank the owner and management of the Central Coast Mariners for giving me this opportunity.

“It has been my dream to play professional football and I know that it will involve a lot of hard work and training to get to the level required to play and make an impact in the A-League.

“When I spoke to the head coach Mike Mulvey on the phone he outlined the ambitions of the club and his plans for the upcoming season.

“I hope I can make a positive contribution to the club and look forward to meeting the other players, staff and fans in the coming weeks.”

Whether Bolt, who played in this year’s Soccer Aid, will realise his dream is yet to be seen.

Here are some other famous faces from the world of sport who have decided to try something different – to varying degrees of success.


Chris Hoy

Chris Hoy reveals his top 10 books (PA)
Chris Hoy(PA)

A hero in the velodrome, cycling knight Sir Chris Hoy has taken on a new kind of racing in recent years.

The Scot finished the world’s most demanding motorsport endurance race, the Le Mans 24 Hours, on his debut in 2016.

The Olympic hero also took part in the Silverstone Classic motor racing festival this summer among other races in his new track career.

Victoria Pendleton

Victoria Pendleton

Double Olympic gold-winning cyclist Pendleton swapped saddles to become an amateur jockey.

She learned to ride in less than 12 months and competed in her first race in 2015.

Her first win came at Wincanton the following year, then she defied expectation to place fifth in a race at the Cheltenham Festival, calling it “probably the greatest achievement of my life”.

Pendleton in action at Cheltenham in 2016 (Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

Sarah Storey

Sarah Storey at the Rio Paralympics (Andrew Matthews/PA Wire)

At the age of 14, Sarah Storey won six medals at the Barcelona Paralympics for her efforts in the pool.

She persisted with swimming until 2005, racking up five golds, eight silvers and three bronzes – but ear infections caused her to opt for a new sport, cycling.

It turns out she’s quite good at that too, winning six more golds on bikes – making her the most successful female British Paralympic athlete of all-time.

She became a Dame in 2013.

Conor McGregor

Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor face off (Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

The loudmouth UFC star swapped the world of mixed martial arts for a boxing bout with the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Nicknamed The Notorious, UFC’s biggest star had started out boxing as a kid and, during his rise to fame in the octagon, regularly called out Mayweather and pined for a fight.

The Irishman gained a professional boxing license in late 2016 and a few months later, Mayweather announced he would come out of retirement to take him on.

The fight, which broke pay-per-view records and was worth hundreds of millions, captivated audiences worldwide, but was compared to a circus act by many critics.

Mayweather won with a 10th-round technical knockout, retiring with 50 wins out of 50 in the ring and McGregor is due to fight again in the UFC later this year.


Michael Jordan

RYDER CUP/Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan tried his hand at baseball (Rebecca Naden/PA).


In 1993, Michael Jordan had won his third successive NBA title with the Chicago Bulls and was at the peak of his powers.

He then decided to play minor league baseball – pursuing a dream his late father had for him.

He signed a contract with the Chicago White Sox, but ended up playing for an affiliate club, the Birmingham Barons and later the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Jordan’s time playing baseball was largely unsuccessful and in 1995 he returned to the NBA.

Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar in the octagon (John Locher/AP)

Best known for his time in WWE, ‘The Beast’ started out as an amateur wrestler before entering the world of sports entertainment.

After a couple of years, he left to pursue a career in American Football.

Joining the Minnesota Vikings, he was named as a defensive tackle but was eventually cut before the start of the 2004 season.

He returned to wrestling in Japan and then entered the world of UFC where he became a  huge draw in the octagon.

He was Heavyweight Champion for a time, failed a drugs test and has also retired twice.

Currently with WWE again as their Universal Champion, he’s set to make another return to UFC later this year.


Dwain Chambers

Dwain Chambers (PA)

The retired British track sprinter, who was once banned for two-years from athletics after testing positive for a banned drug, tried his hand at American Football in the NFL Europa in 2007.

Unfortunately, before he could get into action for Hamburg Sea Devils he picked up an  injury.

In 2008, whilst in the midst of challenging an Olympic ban originating from his positive drug test, he went on trial with rugby league side Castleford Tigers – despite having never played the sport before.

He played in a reserve game for the club but was not offered a contract.

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand was forced to retire from boxing before he even had his first fight after being denied a licence.

Having hung up his football boots, the former England star had been hard in training to achieve his dream.

Rebecca Romero

Olympic pair in tandem record bid
Rebecca Romero was an Olympic winner in two sports (Barry Batchelor/PA).

As a rower, Romero won silver at the 2004 Olympics and gold at the following year’s World Championships.

When a persistent back injury forced her to stop competing, she swapped boat for bike.

In 2008 she became the first British woman to win a medal in two different Olympic sports – this one was gold.

Paolo Maldini

Soccer – UEFA Super Cup – Arsenal v AC Milan – Highbury Stadium
Paolo Maldini, left, was not a success as a veteran tennis professional (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Defender Maldini won just about everything in 24 years at AC Milan – but his professional tennis career lasted just 43 minutes.

Aged 49, eight years after retiring from football, Maldini earned a wildcard into the doubles event at an ATP Challenger tournament in Milan.

After a 6-1 6-1 first round defeat 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.”