Cape Town – Sports personalities are not only famous, they’re usually quite popular – either as role models to youngsters, objects of desire, or heroes.
So, it makes sense that when their professional careers as sportspeople are over, they can tap into that currency of charm and charisma, and easily step into public service.
One such example is former cricketer, Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister-elect.
He’s by no means the first sports star to enter the world of politics.
Footballer George Weah enjoyed a spectacular career, playing for some of the most renowned managers and biggest clubs in Europe, including Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, Milan, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Marseille, making 411 professional appearances and scoring 193 goals.
He also scored 22 goals in his 60 international appearances for his native Liberia.
As one of his country’s favourite sons, it seemed natural that he would eventually reach the highest office, serving as Liberia’s president since January 2018.
Another example is multiple world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao.
From an illustrious career as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in history, Pacquiao announced he would run for a seat in the Philippines House of Representatives in 2007.
In 2009 he ran for a congressional seat, and was elected a year later, and proclaimed congressman in May 2010.
Six years later, he ascended to the peak of his political career to his current position as a senator in his native Philippines.
Another boxer, this time a heavyweight who dominated the ring as one of the longest reigning heavyweight champions of all time.
Vitali Klitschko is a three-time world champion and also boasts one of the longest WBC heavyweight title streaks of all time, with nine consecutive defenses.
His record is 47 and 2, with 41 by way of knockout.
Dr Ironfist is now the mayor of Kiev in his native Ukraine, and also serves as the head of the Kiev City State Administration.
Regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, 1994 FIFA World Cup winner Romário has scored nearly 1 000 goals in the span of his career.
He’s gone on to become the Federal Senator for Rio de Janeiro, serving in the position since 2015.
Placing first four times in the Mr Universe, and seven golds in the Mr Olympia contest, Arnold Schwarzenegger is considered to be one of the most important figures in the sport of bodybuilding, a contribution and legacy commemorated in the Arnold Classic.
A prolific film actor, the man most famous for playing the Terminator T-800, Schwarzenegger would eventually enter the topsy-turvy world of US politics, where he went on to serve as governor of the state of California from 2003 to 2011.