It happens to everyone that, after a certain age, we consider a professional retraining. A banker who becomes a cooper, a tax inspector who becomes a toboggan tester, in short classic. Athletes are also sometimes tired of always doing the same thing for years, tired of pushing a ball in vain, tired of going around in circles around a track, and they try other disciplines. Sometimes with success, but often with failure. We let you discover them.
1. Michael Jordan, you played baseball
The conversion of Jordan had shocked the public who had not understood the choice of the sportsman. At the height of his career with the Chicago Bulls, Flying Jordan decided to drop everything to get into baseball. Indeed he was a baseball fan, and he said to himself “if I am good at basketball, I can be good at baseball”. He will work a lot and will train a lot to achieve his dream and even if his talent is far from being comparable to the prowess he achieved in basketball, he reached a correct level in baseball by integrating the White Sox, a team evolving in Major League Baseball. Finally he will find only two seasons later the basketball courts to end his career in style.
2. Usain Bolt tried his hand at football
Usain Bolt wanted to try his hand at football because he was a lifelong Manchester United fan. After a more than successful career as a sprinter, he actively sought out a professional football club. He therefore had trials with Dortmund, or even with Mamelodi Sundowns (a big club in South Africa). Those tries didn’t pay off (otherwise it wouldn’t have happened) and Bolt had a short stint in Australia with regional-level Central Coast Mariners FC. If the coach recognizes him with great athletic qualities, technical level and placement, that’s not too much. Bolt finally reasoned with himself and put the studs down fairly quickly.
3. American sprinters Tyson Gay and Lolo Jones converted to bobsleigh
Lolo Jones was an American sprinter specializing in the 60m, world champion in 2008 and 2010. After her career, the sprinter embarked on bobsleigh, with success. She participated in the world championships in 2013 with the American national team and won 3rd place. Tyson Gay, specialist in the 100m and 200m (who had small doping problems, oops) also tried his hand at the discipline, with less success. Apparently it’s quite “common” for American sprinters to try their hand at bobsleigh, since Ryan Bailey, who was part of the 4x100m relay, had tried out to become a pusher for the United States team at the same time as Gay.
4. Luc Alphand from alpine skier to car racer to guy who sails
In the 90s, Luc Alphand was one of the most famous downhillers of the French team. He had notably won the 1997 World Cup. But that was not enough for him. He decided to start driving in 1999 and aligned himself with the Paris-Dakar. Here you go, he won the race, the bugger. After that, Alphand decided to try another sport again: sailing. In 2011 he took part in the famous Transat Jacques-Vabre race, which he did not win. You have to have failures in life, Luc, it builds character.
5. Barthez who goes from footballer to car racer (also)
Barthez is one of those names in football that you can’t forget. A World Cup, a Champions League, a European championship will not satiate his desire to break into sport, at all levels and in all sports. He therefore tried his hand at cars, notably with several starts at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. His career will not be super successful but we can congratulate him for having tried.
6. Florent Manaudou, handball player in his spare time
Manaudou after winning four Olympic medals, said in 2016 after his two silver medals, wanting to pause his career to return to handball. Good why not. At 26, the young swimmer is therefore embarking on his new sport with the Aix University team, a team in the fourth national division. When we know that he has also tried his hand at singing, we just want him to live his life by being driven by the kif in fact.
7. Jean Galfione, the ex-pole vaulter converted to sailing
Olympic pole vault champion in 1996, Galfione is the one who inspired Lavillenie. He is also the first Frenchman to cross the bar of 6 meters, in short he was a boss in his discipline. At the end of his career, like a lot of pro athletes, he wanted to retrain and try his hand at his second passion: sailing. For Galfione, it was a success, he finished in 18th place in the Route du Rhum in 2014, he participated again in 2018 but was forced to give up due to weather conditions. He is also taking part in the Transat Jacques Vabres in 2021, a conversion that was finally carried out smoothly.
8. Tim Wiese the former German footballer who decides to take up wrestling
For once the probability that a footballer converts to wrestling was quite low given that the two disciplines are still quite distant. The former goalkeeper of the German selection, who was not necessarily ultra-known to the general public because he was in third reserve, subsequently chose to convert completely into a wrestler. He becomes a professional wrestler in WWE, and wins his first fight in 2016, it doesn’t make sense but he did it and we can only respect him.
9. Eric Cantona, converted into Beach soccer (not a lot of imagination, it’s true)
Cantona stopped his career when he was 31, so relatively early. After making an impression in France and England by being one of the best defenders in Europe, he converted to beach soccer (soccer in sand basically), which is not very very different from football. , we agree. He played at international level for 8 years and then became a coach. Cantona ultimately spent as much time in soccer as in beach soccer.
10. The legend Paolo Maldini, converted into tennis
One of the greatest defenders this world has ever known, Paolo Maldini is an AC Milan legend, and after spending 24 years at the same club he thought “why not do something else”. He tried to break into tennis, except that just because you’re good at one sport doesn’t mean you’re good at all sports, and Maldini had forgotten that a bit. He tried to play pro, notably at the Challenger in Milan, and got a nice wank in the face. Since then, we have never seen him again (in this sport I hear)…