If you take a poll of Olympians and ask them why they got into the sport they practice, they will probably tell you the sport runs in their family, or it was an after school activity or some other reason. For Ashley McKenzie, a British judoka though, the reason is far cooler and nerdier: a Charizard card.
The facts are these: When he was 11, he got into a fight because another kid tried to take his Charizard card. Those of you who played the Pokémon trading card game will remember that Charizard was pretty much the best card in the game, so losing it was a big deal.
Ashley says he tried to grab the other kid's shirt, and didn't even realize when he was thrown over the kid's shoulder. He tried again, and the same thing happened. Confused and defeated, he looked on the Internet and found that a simple Judo move had done him in.
Inspired by this finding, he joined the local judo club, where he befriended his attacker (who gave the Pokémon card back). Ashley also used the sport to turn his life around. He was a troublesome kid, and even spent time in a young offenders institution.
Have you heard of any other interesting stories of how big time athletes got into their sport? Tell us in the comments!