Sports Figures Enter Political Fray

Many athletes sail into the sunset after retiring, taking up golfing and trying their hand at TV. But these sports figures took their championship pedigree from the field to the political arena.

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    Arnold Schwarzenegger

    The former bodybuilder turned actor turned politician was first elected California's governor during a special recall election to replace Gray Davis in Nov. 2003. He was then re-elected the state's governor in Nov. 2006.
    Reuters
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    Kevin Johnson

    Former NBA all-star Kevin Johnson became Sacramento's first black mayor in 2008. Johnson played with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Phoenix Suns from 1987-2000.
    AFP
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    Alexis Arguello

    The former boxing champion was elected mayor of Managua, Nicaragua, in 2008 amid vote-rigging allegations. He allegedly shot himself in July 2009, but some reports say there might have been foul play involved. Arguello won several world championships during his career that spanned four decades.
    AP
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    Jim Ryun

    Jim Ryun was a former track star in the 1960s. He established the U.S. open mile record as a high school senior in 1965. He also captured the NCAA indoor mile championship from 1967 to 1969 while at the University of Kansas. Ryun was a Republican member of Congress from Kansas, serving from 1996 to 2007.
    AP
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    J.C. Watts

    The former University of Oklahoma and Canadian Football League player served as a House Republican member from Oklahoma from 1997 to 2003.
    AP
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    Byron

    White was an All-American football player from the University of Colorado, where he got the nickname "Whizzer." He signed with the then Pittsburgh Pirates of the NFL in 1938 and led the league in rushing his rookie year. He then played for the Detroit Lions in 1940 and 1941, leading the league in rushing again in '40. President Kennedy appointed him as a justice on the Supreme Court in 1962. He served until his retirement in 1993. He died at the age of 84 in 2002 from pneumonia complications. 
    AP
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    Jon Runyan

    The former offensive lineman for the Tennessee Titans, Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers used to manhandle his opponents on the field for 14 seasons. Now, he will try to bring his skills to Congress after defeating Democrat John Adler in a New Jersey House race.
    AP
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    Jim Bunning

    The baseball Hall of Famer who tossed a perfect game for the Philadelphia Phillies on Fathers Day in 1964 was elected to the Senate from Kentucky in 1999. Before that, he served in the House from 1987 to 1999.
    AP
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    Manny Pacquiao

    The first boxer to win nine world titles in seven different weight divisions was elected to the Philippines House of Representatives in May 2010.
    Reuters
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    Jack Kemp

    The man who quarterbacked the Buffalo Bills to two AFL championships in the 1960s also had a very successful congressional career, serving from 1971 until 1989 as a New York Republican congressman. Kemp was also President George H. W. Bush's housing secretary and the 1996 Republican vice presidential nominee. Kemp died of cancer in May 2009 at the age of 73. President Obama posthumously awarded Kemp the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year.
    AP
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    Bill Bradley

    The Hall of Fame basketball player who helped lead the New York Knicks to NBA championships in 1970 and 1973 served as the Democratic senator from New Jersey from 1979 until 1997. He unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2000, losing out to former Vice President Al Gore.
    AP
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    Jesse Ventura

    "The Body" was best known for his wrestling antics and commentary before pulling off one of the biggest political upsets of all-time when Minnesota voted him governor in 1998 as a Reform Party candidate. He served from 1999 until 2003 and never sought a second term.
    AFP
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    Gerald Ford

    Before becoming the 38th President of the United States because of Richard Nixon's resignation, Gerald Ford won two football national championships while playing for the University of Michigan in 1932 and 1933 as a center and linebacker. Ford served as president from 1974 until 1977 and became the only man who wasn't elected president or vice president. He died in Dec. 2006 at the age of 93.
    AP
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    Tom Osborne

    The legendary University of Nebraska football coach who won two national championships brought his play-calling skills to the House, representing Oklahoma as a Republican lawmaker from 2001 until 2007.
    AP
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    Heath Shuler

    Shuler was a top NFL prospect from the University of Tennessee, becoming the third overall pick by the Washington Redskins in the 1994 draft. Despite his career never flourishing, he found a new game in politics, serving as a Democratic House lawmaker from North Carolina since 2007. He won re-election during the 2010 midterms.
    AP
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    Alan Page

    The Hall of Famer who once terrorized quarterbacks as a member of the Minnesota Vikings' famous "Purple People Eaters" has taken charge of the state's court system. He became the first black to be elected associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1992. He has been serving in that role to this day, winning re-election for the third time in Nov. 2010.
    AP
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    Steve Largent

    The Hall of Fame wide receiver from the Seattle Seahawks served as a Republican House lawmaker from Oklahoma from 1994 until 2002. He unsuccessfully ran for governor of Oklahoma in 2002, losing by one-half of one percent.
    2010 Getty Images
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