The 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics starts in just five days. With that in mind, I set out to find former Olympians who’ve appeared in horror and scifi films. Unfortunately, the list isn’t very long, but you can still get the sports related horror history below.
1. Harold Sakata (USA)
1948 London Olympics; Silver in Men’s Weightlifting
Although he’ll always be recognized for playing OddJob in 1964 James Bond Movie, Goldfinger, Sakata went on to achieve a moderately successful career in professional wrestling and can be found in scifi flicks including Dimension 5 (1966), Impulse (1974), Mako: The Jaws of Death (1976), Death Dimension (1978) and Invaders of the Lost Gold (1982).
2. Johnny Weissmuller (USA)
1924 Paris Olympics; 3x Gold in Men’s Freestyle
1928 Amsterdam Olympics; 2x Gold in Men’s Freestyle
To do this day, Weissmuller still holds some of the best scores in competitive swimming. When he left the pool behind, he swung to the jungle and lead the Tarzan movie franchise from 1932 to 1948. When he was replaced, he played Jungle Jim in another blockbuster series from 1948 to 1954.
3. Bruce Bennett (USA)
1928 Amsterdam Olympics; Silver in Men’s Shot Put
What’s more difficult, making it onto the Olympic Field or making it in Hollywood? Bruce Bennett could’ve answered this question. After his big win in 1928, he started pursuing a career in acting and popped up in dozens of films from 1931 to 1943 in background roles. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that he booked larger parts in films including Sudden Fear (1952), The Cosmic Man (1959) and The Alligator People (1959). His second to last role can be found in The Clones (1973).
4. Buster Crabbe (USA)
1928 Amsterdam Olympics; Bronze in Men’s Swimming
1932 Los Angeles Olympics; Gold in Men’s Swimming
Before Batman and Captain Marvel, there was a space superhero by the name of Flash Gordon. Derived from a comic book strip, Crabbe brought the character to life in its early installments Flash Gordon (1936), Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars (1938) and Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940). Like Bennett, one of his final roles was a horror film – The Alien Dead (1980).
5. Kurt Angle (USA)
1996 Atlanta Olympics; Gold in Men’s Wrestling
The current General Manager on WWE’s RAW brand, Kurt is very much still a large part of fitness and wrestling. He’s been a recognizable name in talent while bouncing between WWE and TNA, but in recent years he’s given acting a serious push. You can find his featured roles in Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010), River of Darkness (2011), Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies (2014), Sharknado 2 (2014) and The Last Witch Hunter (2015).
6. Shaq (USA)
1994 Canada Olympics; Gold in Men’s Basketball
1996 Atlanta Olympics; Gold in Men’s Basketball
We all know Shaq. We all love Shaq. Hell, other countries enjoy him more than we do. While his acting career isn’t as extensive as his basketball resume, he did lead the show in family-fantasy flick Kazaam (1996) and appeared as himself in horror-comedy Scary Movie 4 (2006).
7. Apolo Ohno (USA)
2002 Salt Lake City Olympics; Gold in Short Track Speed Skating
2006 Turin Olympics; Gold in Short Track Speed Skating
Another incredibly recognizable name on the list, it’s certainly a surprise to see he held a supporting role in SYFY original movie, Tasmanian Devils (2013).
8. Robert Stack (USA)
NA; Gold in Men’s Skeet Shooting
An Emmy Award winning television host known for voicing “Unsolved Mysteries,” Robert was an expert marksman before he joined the army near the end of World War II. Before or after, I can’t find concrete details, sources state that he won a gold medal in Men’s Skeet Shooting. Afterword, he became a great actor with roles in The Strange and Deadly Occurrence (1974) and Perry Mason: The Case of the Sinister Spirit (1987).
9. Geena Davis (USA)
2000 Sydney Olympics; Did Not Qualify – Women’s Archery
A Golden Globe winning actress known for playing April in Tootsie (1982) and Thelma in Thelma & Louise (1991), Geena also tried out for the US Women’s Archery team in 2000. Although she did not quality to make the field, she still had cushiony roles in Transylvania 6-500 (1985), The Fly (1986) and Beetlejuice (1988) to help rejuvenate her career in later years. She recently co-starred on “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Exorcist.”