Top 15 Athletes Who Went Political

When you think athlete, most of the time you probably don't think politician in the same breath.

With the sort of resources and popularity that athletes have, why not go for it if their heart is really in it and they have the support and of course money? Politics seems like a great thing to add to a resume for these athletes, and some actually seem to be good at doing it. These athletes gave us their blood, sweat and tears in their respectful careers, and are now turning their talents elsewhere.

Most of the time retired athletes will go work as a analyst, coach, broadcaster or something related to the professional sport they spent a good portion of their life playing and being around, but not all go that route and one of those lanes athletes may go is into the wide world of politics. Now doing something like that, jumping professions to that magnitude, may not be the simplest things to do but this athletes certainly put forth an effort to do their part and make a difference anyway they can.

They come from all different sports baseball, basketball, football, professional stars, college starts and even Olympians. Presidential nominees, governors to be, house of representatives members, and even Congress, no matter how big or small the office there has been some former athlete who has tried to get in on the action and run for a seat.

15 15. Lynn Swann - Republican Governor Nominee for Pennsylvania 


14 14. Heath Shuler - House of Representatives


His career was cut short due to a foot injury, but quarterback Health Shuler made it to the NFL, and made the best of it while he was there despite being recognized as a draft bust. The University of Tennessee product made 22 starts and riffled in 13 touchdowns while crossing pay dirt an additional time on the ground in 1997. Shuler entered the 2006 congressional race against an eight-term incumbent and won the bid, becoming one of only two Democrats to defeat an incumbent in the South in 2006.

13 13. Jim Ryun - House of Representatives



As a World Record holder and a member of three Olympic teams Jim Ryun knew a thing or two about the world of track and field. Ryun competed in three consecutive Summer Games including 1968 where he won a silver medal in the 1,500 meters. Ryun served five terms in Kansas as a member of the House's second district beginning in 1997.

12 12. Matthew Lindland - House of Representatives


11 11. Steve Largent - House of Representatives 



10 10. Jon Runyan - U.S. Congressman 

Tom Williams/Roll Call

In 14 NFL seasons at the right tackle position, Runyan accumulated 207 career games including 192 straight starts for the Philadelphia Eagles. Runyan burst into the political scene in 2010 were he represented New Jersey’s Third District. As a Republican he voted for both off-shore oil drilling and the Patriot Act. After four years as a congressman Runyan decided to change his profession again, but not before pointing out some similarities between them first

"Both are contact sports, and you’d better be ready to play when you step onto either field." said Runyan to on Jan. 24th, 2014.

9 9. Ben Campbell - House of Representatives 


8 8. Ralph Metcalfe - House of Representatives


If it wasn't for Jesse Owens, the USA's fastest man would have been the best way to describe Olympic sprinter Ralph Metcalfe in the 1930s. Already a star at the University of Marquette, Metcalfe put on a show at the Los Angeles 1932 games when he won two medals; a silver and bronze in the 100 and 200-meters respectively. He wasn't done there as he followed that up with a gold and silver medal performance at the Berlin Championships in 1936 in the 100 and as a member of the 400-meter relay team.

7 7. Jim Bunning – U.S. Senator


Jim Bunning was a 190 pound right handed pitcher, who retired from the MLB at the age of 39. Six seasons of 200-plus strikeouts, a career ERA of 3.20 and one perfect game later, Bunning took on a career in politics that lasted over a decade. Bunning entered his political career as a Kentucky State Senator and went on to be a U.S. Representative from Kentucky's 4th district before settling in the U.S. Senate in 1999.

6 6. Bill Bradley - U.S. Senator

AP Photo/Harry Cabluck

Bill Bradley was a politician for nearly two decades. Not only was he a successful political man, but he also was the author of seven books on American politics and how things get done the American way. With the help of teammates like NBA and NCAA coaching legend Larry Brown by his side, Bradley and the USA Basketball won a gold medal beating the Soviet Union in the championship game at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games. Just three years after retiring from the NBA Bradley was elected U.S. Senator of New Jersey at 35.

5 5. Jesse "The Body" Ventura - Governor of Minnesota


With the millions and millions of fans that follow the WWE it was no surprise that Jesse Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota in 1998. His signature move was the body breaker, and that's certainty what he did, Ventura held the AWA World Tag Team Championship and was also a 2004 WWE Hall of Fame inductee. Prior to being elected governor, Ventura was mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, and served from 1991 to 1995. Three years later, he made a run for Governor on the Reform Party ticket. He came out victorious defeating St. Paul's mayor and the state's attorney general in the election.

4 4. Jack Kemp - Congress

via AP Photo


As a field general in the AFL for 13 seasons Jack Kemp surpassed the 21,000 career passing mark and had back to back AFL championships in 1964 and 1965. Kemp did have troubles taking care of the ball as he totaled 183 career interceptions including six seasons of 20 interceptions or more, nevertheless the man was a winner and proved it time and time again.

3 3. Kevin Johnson - Mayor of Sacramento

Ronald Martinez /Allsport

2 2. Manny Pacquiao - Philippines Congress


1 1. Arnold Schwarzenegger - California Governor

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Arnold Schwarzenegger was a legend in the sport of body building winning his first Mr. Universe crown at 20 years old. Schwarzenegger won the Mr. Olympia title seven times between 1968-1980. He was a common name upon the winners taking the title six straight years. The body builder later retired from the sport to turn his focus to acting, becoming very successful in the process. He has not forgotten about his past though and is still a presence in bodybuilding writing many books and articles on the sport.

He was sworn in as California's 38th Governor in 2003. During his stretch as the governor Schwarzenegger acted as Chairman of the After School All-Stars, a nationwide after-school program, and also served as Chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under George H.W. Bush. He also made California a world leader on renewable energy and climate change with the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

Give TheSportster a Thumbs up!

Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?

Get Your Free Access Now!

More in Entertainment

Top 15 Athletes Who Went Political