Nowadays, Jason Statham is best known for playing gruff, rough around the edges anti-heroes, who we love despite their dodgy schemes.
However – like many actors before him – the gravelly voiced Fast and the Furious star pursued a very different career path before finding his way under the bright lights of Hollywood.
Indeed, the 51-year-old Snatch actor also has a exceptionally brilliant talent for diving, which many of his fans may not even know about.
Now, The Stath wasn’t just fond of the occasional dip at his local leisure centre, he was in fact a member of Britain’s National Swimming Squad for 12 dedicated years.
Statham actually dived for England at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, competing in the 10 metre, three metre, and one metre contests.
Footage has emerged of a young Statham diving during the competition, turning somersaults like a dolphin before plunging expertly into the pool; characteristically determined jaw making him instantly recognisable.
His trademark confidence is already visible as he strides down the board; apparently completely fearless as he completes two ambitious, elegant dives.
Sadly, the third dive falls a little short; resulting in a rather painful looking belly flop and a dismal highest mark of 2.5. As the future actor stands on the edge of the pool, the commentator notes he looks ‘very dejected’.
Fans have been excited to see this sporty side of their ‘masculine’ hero, and have been especially intrigued to see him with a full head of hair.
One supportive person commented:
At the end…don’t worry Jason, you go on to become a huge action star that brings happiness & excitement to millions of people. [sic]
Here’s the clip:
Another wowed person said:
You got to respect this guy: a professional diver (more than most people ever achieve), a top martial artist (more than most people achieve), a top Hollywood action star (more than most people achieve), and dating a super-model (more than most people achieve) = RESPECT!! [sic]
Although life has taken him down a completely different road, Statham reportedly still credits his early training in diving for making him the man he is today.
Back in 2003, he told IGN:
I didn’t actually go to the Olympic Games, but you know, pretty much everything else, the World Championships.
It wasn’t actually in the Olympic Games, but I spent 12 years on the national squad. And it was a great experience, you know, to travel the world and compete at a certain level.
It teaches you discipline, focus, and certainly keeps you out of trouble.
It sounds like this was also brilliant preparation for taking on The Meg!
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.