After their athletic careers, a surprising number of athletes and sports figures pursue political careers. Some aspire to be members of parliament or congressmen, while others eschew the legislature in pursuit of becoming Mayors, Governors or even Presidential candidates. What draws athletes to the world of politics is a mystery. Maybe it is the need to stay in the spotlight after their careers in the sports world. Maybe it is the ability to impact a mass of people that draws them to the political arena. Maybe its a combination of the aforementioned motives along with countless others. What is apparent is that a good many athletes turn to politics after their careers are over.
This article lists ten athletes who later on became politicians. The athletes listed were all professional athletes and not politicians who excelled just on the collegiate level. It was difficult narrowing down the list to ten athletes because of the sheer amount of successful sports figures who have entered the political arena. The list has left out some prominent names such as Jesse Ventura who was Governor of Minnesota, Dave Bing who is the Mayor of Detroit and George Weah who was a candidate for the Liberian Presidency. These are just a few of the athletes who did not make this list. The athletes who are on the list come from a variety of sports and a variety of countries. The list tried to focus on prominent athletes who have name recognition. The list also did not really take into account the level of success they had in their political careers, just the fact that they pursued political careers.
10 Andriy Shevchenko - Football
9 Jim Bunning - Baseball
8 Lynn Swann - Football
7 Ken Dryden - Hockey
6 Romario - Football
5 Steve Largent - Football
4 Kevin Johnson - Basketball
3 Bill Bradley - Basketball
2 Arnold Schwarzenegger - Bodybuilding
1 Manny Pacquiao - Boxing
The number one athlete turned politician is none other than Manny Pacquiao. The Pac-Man, as he is affectionately known, is the only person on this list who is currently both an athlete and a politician. What is extraordinary is the fact that Pacquiao can juggle politics with a sport as grueling as boxing. Pacquiao just defeated Timothy Bradley on April 12th to become the WBO Welterweight Champion of the World. Pacquiao's boxing career is highly decorated and he has won a world title in eight different weight classes. In May 2010, Pacquiao was elected to the House of Representatives in the 15th Congress of the Philippines, representing the province of Sarangani. He was re-elected in 2013 to the 16th Congress of the Philippines. It seems that Pacquiao intends to continue in his dual roles for the foreseeable future.
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