Male Celebrities Who Gave Up Careers In Sports

The Korean entertainment industry is not particularly an easy one to crack, and talented people start working from a young age to chase their dreams of becoming celebrities. Be it acting or music, becoming a star in South Korea usually takes lifelong dedication to the craft.

But for some celebrities, their entertainment careers were somewhat unexpected. There are a handful of them who were actually athletes before becoming entertainers, and though the number isn’t that high, it is also not rare to see people who made such career shifts.

Here are six male celebrities who left their career in sports to pursue entertainment:

ENHYPEN’s Sunghoon

ENHYPEN Sunghoon | @ENHYPEN_members/Twitter

Sunghoon, a member of the popular fourth-gen group ENHYPEN, is probably one of the most well-known ex-athletes in the industry right now. Before becoming an idol, Sunghoon was a competitive figure skater from 2010 to early 2020. In 2015, he won the novice gold medal in the Asian Figure Skating Trophy, following it up with two silver medals in 2016 and 2017. He was also the 2015 novice gold medalist of the Lombardia Trophy. During the 2018-2019 figure skating season, he became age-eligible to participate in senior competitions.

Sunghoon | Pinterest

But at the same time, Sunghoon became a trainee and, in 2020, made his debut with ENHYPEN. The singer announced his retirement from sports that year and continues to enjoy a flourishing career in K-Pop.

Choi Hyun Wook

Choi Hyun Wook | JoongAng Ilbo

Choi Hyun Wook has attracted attention with his recent K-Drama Twinkling Watermelon, but the actor was a baseball player before joining entertainment. Choi was a player since high school, and he won the championship by stealing bases at the 47th Presidential Junior High School Baseball Tournament during his junior high school years.

| Nate Pann

Choi pursued baseball for ten years, but an unfortunate injury took his dreams away. In the third year of middle school, he hurt his right elbow and underwent surgery for it during his first year of high school. Though his injury was fixed, it put some physical restrictions, which led to him quitting baseball eventually.

Choi debuted as an actor in 2019 with the web drama Real Time: Love Part 1.

Nam Joo Hyuk

Nam Joo Hyuk | @skawngur/Instagram

Actor Nam Joo Hyuk’s entertainment career spans almost a decade this year. So, it is difficult to imagine him doing something else. However, his childhood dream was to be a professional basketball player.

During the third year of middle school, he joined a basketball team, leveraging his height. However, before he could explore any real prospects in this field, he suffered injuries that made him undergo two major surgeries and give up his dream. Though he couldn’t be a basketball player anymore, Nam Joo Hyuk worked as a part-time basketball coach for a while.

But his life took a turn after he came to Seoul and won the contest Top Model. Soon after, he signed an exclusive contract under a modeling agency and eventually shifted to acting.

RIIZE’s Anton

Anton | SM Entertainment

RIIZE member Anton made his debut as a K-pop idol only this September but has already managed to win over hearts. But before becoming an idol, Anton was a swimmer!

The singer started swimming at the age of five and achieved many impressive feats. Around the time when he was 11 years old, Anton won first place in New Jersey’s junior championship.

| theqoo

However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, swimming pools had to be closed down for a prolonged period, and Anton decided to shift his focus to music and expressed his wish to return to Korea to pursue it. After initial opposition, his parents agreed to the plan, and Anton ended up joining SM Entertainment, leading to his eventual debut.

Ahn Bo Hyun

Ahn Bo Hyun

Before becoming the actor every K-Drama fan crushes on, Ahn Bo Hyun was an accomplished boxer. He started boxing in middle school after receiving an offer from a boxing team and pursued the sport until his third year of high school. He even won a gold medal at a nationwide competition and gained recognition as a promising boxer.

| @afc78/YouTube

However, Ahn had to leave the sport because of a couple of reasons. Boxing was not as popular in South Korea, and his frequent injuries worried his parents. He eventually left the field to pursue modeling and acting.

WEi’s Yohan

Kim Yohan | @y_haa.n/Instagram

Singer-actor Kim Yohan, also known by his stage name Yohan, belongs to a family with strong ties to the sport of Taekwondo. Yohan was introduced to the world of martial arts at the age of three and was active as a Taekwondo athlete from the first year of middle school, continuing it for the next twenty years.

During his athletic career, Yohan won the national youth championship twice and was awarded a sports scholarship to study physical education at Sangmyun University. He also served as a candidate for the national Taekwondo team.

Despite his flourishing career in Taekwondo, Yohan started showing interest in an entertainment career, eventually pursuing it as his main profession.

Some other celebrities that are well-known for giving up their careers as athletes to be entertainers include Jackson Wang from GOT7, actor Sung Hoon, and Lee Jong Hwa.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post Actress Song Ji Hyo Wins Lawsuit Against Her Former Agency
Next post Daryl Hall granted restraining order against John Oates

Goto Top