Five other high-profile crossover athletes

Fred Perry (table tennis and tennis)

Perry is best known for his feats on the tennis court. The former No. 1 won eight Grand Slam singles titles, including three at Wimbledon from 1934-36. But he was a champion long before he completed a career Grand Slam. The Briton won the table tennis men's singles world title in 1929.

Bo Jackson (American football and baseball)

Jackon did not just play baseball and football at the major league level simultaneously, he also excelled in both sports. In 1989, the Kansas City Royals outfielder started for the American League All-Star team and was named the game's Most Valuable Player. In 1990, the Los Angeles Raiders running back was selected to feature in the National Football League Pro Bowl 1990, becoming the first athlete to be named an All-Star in two major sports.

Michael Jordan (basketball and baseball)

As much as Jordan is widely regarded as the best basketballer ever to play the game, his minor league baseball days have largely been seen as a mere footnote in his sporting career. The six-time National Basketball Association champion did not find professional baseball a slam dunk. He hit his first home run for the Birmingham Barons almost four months after joining the team. After 127 games, he had a 0.202 batting average, with three home runs and 11 errors.

Lolo Jones (hurdles and bobsleigh)

The 33-year-old has represented the United States in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Her best shot at winning gold came at the 2008 Beijing Games, when she was tipped to win the 100m hurdles, only to finish seventh. Following that disappointment, she picked up bobsleighing. She competed at last year's Sochi Games, finishing 11th in the two-woman bobsleigh with partner Jazmine Fenlator.

Sonny Bill Williams (rugby and boxing)

During October's Rugby World Cup final against Australia, Williams came on at half-time to win his 33rd All Blacks cap and immediately played a part in a critical try. The 30-year-old went on to secure a second world title with New Zealand. Earlier this year, the former World Boxing Association international heavyweight champion returned to the ring to win his seventh fight in as many bouts.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2015, with the headline 'Five other high-profile crossover athletes'. Print Edition | Subscribe