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From John McEnroe to Shaquille O'Neal, plenty of sports stars have tried their hand at music - with, if we're being frank, mixed results. On the flip side, there are plenty of musicians who play sport without having much talent for it. And that's also fine, because exercise is good.

These eight are different - if the dice had rolled differently, we think they could have had a career as athletes. And in the case of Chelcee Grimes, she's somehow finding the time to forge a dual career in pop and football...

Chelcee Grimes

[WATCH] BBC Sport - Meet Chelcee Grimes: footballer...and musician

Appropriately for someone whose first name resembles a Premier League team and surname is a genre, just about, Liverpudlian Chelcee Grimes is both a footy ace and musician. On the footy side, Chelcee wears the No.10 shirt for WFC Fulham, the first women's football club to turn full-time professional (in 2000). Just recently, she scored her first goal with a header, which appeared to be to the surprise of her fans. On 3 December, after Fulham's 3-0 thrashing of Whyteleafe, she tweeted a video with the caption: "For everyone who didn't believe I actually scored a header, here's the proof."

On the music front, Chelcee's achievements are just as great. She's written songs for Kylie Minogue, Dua Lipa, Kesha and The Saturdays, as well as performing her own songs. Check Just Like That - top tune. BBC Sport met Chelcee recently, above. "I think people in music think it's really cool that I play football," she said. "They don't believe me at first. They'll say, 'What are you doing tonight?' I'm like, 'I've got an FA Cup game...' And they're like, 'What!?'"

Serge Pizzorno (Kasabian)

Sticking with footy, Kasabian's Serge Pizzorno held aspirations to play for his beloved Leicester FC when he was younger and you can understand why - the man's got seriously silky skills. His goal at Soccer Aid 2012 at Old Trafford is one of the greatest in the charity event's history - found in space down the left, the guitarist is passed to in the box and, on first touch, chips no less a figure than David Seaman, England's second most-capped goalkeeper. And you can be sure here that David wasn't being soft on Serge - he was well and truly beaten.

If you're on YouTube having a look at that, also search for Serge on Soccer AM. More skills, in rock 'n' roll boots that time.

Jack Johnson

There's a good reason why the music of Jack Johnson evokes the feelings of being on the beach, sunshine and surfing - he grew up on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, the son of a famous surfer and he's a surfer himself. "My dad was a house-builder," Jack told the Telegraph in in 2006. "He moved to Hawaii because of the surf. Me and my brothers were riding on his board by the time we were two or three. I got my first surfboard when I was five and started going out on my own. I surfed every day. Even now, every place I go, I like to get acclimatised by going in the water."

Jack got good at surfing - good enough to compete professionally. Aged 17, he became the youngest invitee to make the finals of the prestigious Pipeline Masters in Hawaii, only to have a serious accident one week later - he wiped out and smashed his head on the coral reef, rendering him unconscious. And then: "All of a sudden I tried to take a breath and I swallowed water and it woke me up. Another wave broke over me and the next thing I knew I was on the beach. I looked down and my whole body was bloody. It didn't hurt at all, but I put my finger up to my forehead and it kind of went into my skin. Then I felt my teeth missing, so I knew I was pretty messed up."

The accident put an end to his career as a pro surfer, but Jack has always played music, too - starting out in punk bands in his teens, then becoming an extraordinarily successful singer-songwriter. His first four albums all went platinum in the US.

Bruce Dickinson

A man of many talents, Bruce Dickinson is the singer of legendary heavy metal group Iron Maiden, a pilot who has flown his group and its crew around the globe on world tours, a writer, a 6 Music radio DJ, and he's an excellent fencer to boot. According to the Daily Mail, he was once ranked 7th in Great Britain at fencing after his local club won the National Team Championship in 1989, and he's been no slouch with the foil in recent times either. In 2013, when he was 54, he fought Bartosz Piasecki, a Norwegian fencer who won silver at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Dickinson lost, but he won the admiration of his opponent - for his ability and demeanour. "He's kick-ass," Piasecki told the Norwegian paper Aftenposten (via Maiden Revelations). "He is short but incredibly fast, that's his weapon... He looked like Rocky when he arrived in a brown robe with his fencing kit in a shoulder bag."


Vanessa-Mae might be known to most as a multi-million-selling virtuoso violinist, but she's also a Winter Olympian. At the grand age of 35, Vanessa - a skier since the age of four - turned her back on her music career and appeared, as Vanessa Vanakorn, in the colours of Thailand to take part in the giant slalom at Sochi 2014. Of the 67 competitors who made it to the end of the course, she came last, some 50 seconds behind gold medalist Tina Maze - not a great result, but the music world saluted her achievement of making it to the Olympics nonetheless.

However, that wasn't the end of the story. Later that year, the International Ski Federation banned her from competing for four years after concluding that she had fixed her qualifying races for the tournament. Six months later, the Court of Arbitration, while maintaining that her qualifying results were defective, said there was no direct evidence she was involved in the offence and lifted the ban. She failed to qualify for the 2018 Winter games, after a shoulder injury ended her bid.

Chi-Chi Nwanoku

[LISTEN] BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Chi-Chi Nwanoku

Also from the world of classical music is Chi-Chi Nwanoku, principal bassist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and leader of UK's only majority black and ethnic minority orchestra, Chineke!, whose debut Prom in 2017 went massively viral. Chi-Chi has been awarded an OBE for her services to music and she's also a professor at the Royal College of Music in London, but we may never have learned about her gift for music if it hadn't been for an injury that ended her ambitions to become an Olympic sprinter.

"I took up the double bass in my last year of school after this devastating knee injury ruined my sprinting career," she told the Proms last year. "I was doing 11:8 seconds for the 100 metres. And I was 17 then, so I was definitely heading for the Montreal Olympics [three years later in 1976].

"I was in hospital for two weeks and the day I limped back into school, the head of music came up to me and said, 'Chi-Chi, you're probably the most musically gifted person in the school, but you're the only one who doesn't play in an orchestra. We think that if you took up a very unpopular instrument, you could have a career.' And he led me to this room where they had two double basses and that changed my life."

Hear more about Chi-Chi's extraordinary life story by listening to her Desert Island Discs, above.

Julio Iglesias

Spanish music superstar Julio Iglesias is the best-selling Latin artist of all time, with more than 200m record sales (his son Enrique is second on the list, with Shakira in third place). But before Julio went on to find global success as a singer and songwriter, he played in goal for Real Madrid Castilla in the Spanish Segunda División. And much like Jack Johnson and Chi-Chi Nwanoku, his career in sport was also cut short by injury. As CNN reported in 2014, a serious car crash compressed a nerve in his spine leaving him paralysed from the chest down and bed-ridden for two years. His football career was over, but he has fond memories of his time in sport, saying: "You feel 50,000 people in the stadium and you go on the grass and the magic starts. You feel like you are something else. All the dreams that you have for years come back in a reality and you are in front of so many people playing a match and you win, you lose. It's passion, it's courage."

Paul McGregor (Ulterior)

[Warning: Contains flashing images]

Finally, one for all you fans of underground, gothy post-punk, and it's a surprising one: Paul McGregor, singer of Ulterior, who once toured with The Sisters of Mercy, used to play for Nottingham Forest. Strange, but true. He came up through the youth system at the club, made the first team, scored a wonder goal against Sheffield Wednesday in 1999 (a bicycle kick: check YouTube), then went to play for Carlisle United, Preston North End, Plymouth Argyle and Northampton Town, before turning to music.

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