Inside Jason Statham’s surprising аttemрt to make the Olympics long before he became one of Hollywood’s biggest action stars

Inside Jason Statham’s surprising аttemрt to make the Olympics long before he became one of Hollywood’s biggest action stars

You may know him as Turkish from Snatch, or Bacon from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrrels.

Over the course of his acting career, Jason Statham has gone from playing cockney gangsters to one of the world’s most recognisable action stars.

But before the glitz and the glamour, Statham was nearing the pinnacle of something very different.

It wouldn’t be until 1998 that he would make his acting debut in the aforementioned Guy Ritchie project Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Eight years prior to that, the then 23-year-old found himself in Auckland competing at the Commonwealth Games.

Jason Statham initially competed in diving at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand

Jason Statham initially competed in diving at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand

He has credited a high diver he saw during a family holiday as the reason he got into diving

He has credited a high diver he saw during a family holiday as the reason he got into diving

Despite the diving career not working out, Statham has enjoyed great success throughout his acting career

Despite the diving career not working out, Statham has enjoyed great success throughout his acting career

Representing England, the Death Race star was actually a professional diver.

It was an admirable attempt from the now 56-year-old who actually performed across three separate events.

He would secure a top-10 finish in the one-metre springboard, and followed that up with two 11th places in the three and 10-metre platforms respectively.

Statham has given credit to his career in sports as part of the reason he has been so successful on the big screen telling the BBC in 2008 ‘I think what I didn’t achieve [in sports] helped me focus more and take my acting career more seriously.’

Jason Statham’s Olympic dreams

While many may not have known about Statham’s past as a diver, his interest in sport will come as less of a shock.

Showcased in so many of his films, the Derbyshire-born star has practiced martial arts including kickboxing and karate.

But his love for diving began as a young teen which he accredits to seeing a high dive in Miami.

‘I was on holiday in Florida with my mum and dad and there was this guy who used to do a high dive. at noon every day from one of the hotels we stayed in.

‘And I say ‘when we get home, I am going to do that.

‘I joined the club then, I was like 11 or 12 years old. Within a year, I was part of the British team and it gained momentum and speed and I spent the next 10 years doing that.’ he recalled.

His hard work and dedication in his early years would pay off as he was inducted into the British National Diving School in 1985 earning the right to represent Great Britain and England at international competitions.

Jason Statham was inducted into the British National Diving School in 1985

Jason Statham was inducted into the British National Diving School in 1985

Despite two attempts at qualifying for the Olympics, he wasn't able to qualify for either the 1988 or 1992 Summer Games

Despite two attempts at qualifying for the Olympics, he wasn’t able to qualify for either the 1988 or 1992 Summer Games

But a place at the Olympics would never materialise for the Hollywood star, he participated in the trials for the 1988 and 1992 Summer Games in Seoul and Barcelona respectively, failing to make the cut on both occasions.

Despite appearing in many hits over the course of his acting career including The Expendables, Transformers and the Fast & Furious franchise, the one sore spot that remains was his inability to make it to the Olympic Games.

‘It’s a bit of a sore point that I never got to the Olympics,’ Jason Statham said during one of his movie premieres after Jack Laugher and Chris Mears became the first Brits to win an Olympic gold medal in diving at Rio 2016.

‘They deserve it. The divers now are just terrific,’ Statham added. ‘I started too late. It probably wasn’t my thing. I should have done a different sport.’

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