9 famous faces you might not know were also Olympians


As we edge ever closer to the Rio Olympics, we look forward to seeing which athletes will make their way into our pop culture consciousness after winning gold, silver or bronze.

But it isn't always that way - some sporting people have earned their well-known celebrity status for reasons other than their achievements at the Games.

Here are 9 famous faces who you may not know were once professional athletes at the Olympics:

1. Princess Anne

Princess Anne attends a horse show (Niall Carson/PA)
(Niall Carson/PA)

Apart from being 12th in line to the throne, Princess Anne is also known being the first member of the royal family to have competed in the Olympics.

A keen equestrian competitor, the Princess Royal rode the Queen's horse (called Goodwill) in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal for Britain.

2. Dolph Lundgren

Actor Dolph Lundgren attends the LA Premiere of
(Richard Shotwell/AP)

The muscle man is probably best known for his key role in Rocky IV (as Russian boxing rival Ivan Drago) as well as his smaller part in A View to a Kill (as a KGB henchman called Venz).

But before all that, he was the team leader for the US' pentathlon team at the 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta.

3. Vanessa-Mae

Violinist Vanessa Mae performing on stage (Barry Batchelor/PA)
(Barry Batchelor/PA)

The Singapore-born British violinist has sold millions of albums around the world, and was even named the wealthiest young entertainer in the UK by the Sunday Times Rich List in 2006.

Then in 2014, she turned her attention to the Winter Olympics and competed in the alpine skiing for Thailand.

4. Britt Goodwin

The Norwegian-British handball player competed for Britain at home in the London 2012 Olympics.

But this wasn't the first time she graced TV screens - she was the winner of Big Brother in Norway back in 2005 (and yes, being in a reality show does count as celebrity here).

5. Harold Sakata

harold sakata (PA)

The late American will forever be remembered as the villainous Odd Job in Goldfinger.

But once upon a time, in 1948, he won a silver medal for his country at the summer Olympics in London for weightlifting.

6. Hillary Wolf

Things were the opposite way round for Wolf. She started off as a child actress starring alongside Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister's sister Megan in the classic Home Alone.

Fast forward a few years and she represented the US in the Judo in the 1996 and 2000 summer Olympics. Hopefully she didn't forget to invite Kevin.

7. Johnny Weissmuller

Johnny Weissmuller headshot (PA)

This guy was the original Tarzan, starring as the loin-cloth laden wild man in the 1930s and 40s films.

He was also a competitive swimmer who won a total of five Olympic gold medals for swimming and one bronze medal for water polo. Not bad for a man who's used to swinging in trees.

8. Cathy Rigby

Cathy Rigby plays Peter Pan in a
(John Marshall Mantel/AP)

Rigby is well known for taking on the shining lights of Broadway as the lead in Peter Pan, which she played for over 30 years.

But her gymnastic career is just as notable, with her performance in the 1968 summer Olympics helping to boost the popularity of the sport in the US.

9. Ming Campbell

former  Liberal Democrat Party leader ming campbell (Chris Ison/PA)
(Chris Ison/PA)

The former leader of the Liberal Democrats was also a successful sprinter.

He competed for Team GB in the 200 metres and the 4×100 metres relay at the 1964 Games in Tokyo. Whoever said politicians weren't team players?