You might very well have read stories about athletes taking another route to fame by opting for an acting career, but hardly remember any name other than Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Shaquille O’Neal for say. But what if we say the ‘Transporter’ prodigy, Jason Statham comes under the same category? And what if we say he has even participated in the Commonwealth Games?
Well, before becoming an acting personality he is now, the 51-year-old carried a keen interest in sports. During his growing up years, Statham would regularly practise Kung Fu, kickboxing and karate. Growing up with Vinnie Jones, another athlete turned actor, Statham has also played football on a local level before eventually realising his interest lies in diving.
In the midst of mastering his diving techniques, Statham became a member of Britain’s National Swimming Squad and come 1990, he was elected to represent England in the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand in three different events (1m, 3m and 10m).
Statham didn’t have a great time as he could only achieve an eighth-place finish in the 1m springboard, 10th in the 10m platform, and 11th in the 3m springboard events. Two years on, he was up there with the bests, representing his nation at the World Championships. But only a 12th place finish was written in the stars.
Despite not achieving huge success on the sporting stage, Jason did enough to leave a mark in the fashion industry. While training in one of London’s sports centre, he was spotted by a Sports Promotions agency who wanted him as a model and this proved out to be the turning point of his career. By 1996, he was already a face of the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Griffin, and Levis.
In an interview in 2008, Statham recollected that although he couldn’t achieve what he wanted in sports, his acting career made him a better man.
“I never really achieved what I wanted to achieve. But I think what I didn’t achieve has probably helped me focus more and take my acting career more seriously,” as reported by BBC.