When I first started reading comic books I noticed that there were only two characters based around a sporting theme. One of them was the Sports Master (AKA Lawrence Crock), where as the other one was the Gambler (AKA Steven Sharpe), and together, the two of them loved things like slapping small children, teasing smaller animals, spending their ill gotten gains on a number of betting sites, and basically doing anything they shouldn't be doing. Since then, however, I've gradually noticed how sports have been integrated into the origins of both hero and villain alike. Want to know who I'm referring to? Then please check out this list of comic book characters that started out in the sporting arena.
Booster Gold (Football)
Some superheroes are born with powers, others have powers bestowed upon them, but in the case of Michael Jon Carter, the blonde-haired high-school football-star from the 25th century, well, he stole his powers, he stole them so he could get away from his troubles. Unfortunately for Michael, his Dad was a pretty big gambler. So big in fact, that eventually he ran up a huge gambling debt, around about the same time his mother contracted a debilitating illness. As time passed Michael's Dad decided to run away, and this forced Michael to pay off the money he was owing to his debtors. So for him to be able to do this, he allied himself with a betting syndicate and took part in rigging football matches. After all, he was a high school football star, so this was a pretty easy thing for him to do. That is, until he got caught in the act, got kicked out of the football team, only to end up getting a job at a Space Museum as a humble janitor. While there, Michael realized that he should take a leaf out of his old man's book, doing so by stealing some artifacts belonging to the Legion of Superheroes, before hijacking a time machine and transporting himself to the 20th century. Here, he would slowly learn the error of his ways as the costumed super-hero, Booster Gold.
Now in stark contrast to Michael's origin, Ted Grant's origin involves him being a world-class heavyweight boxing champion, circa 1942, who refused to throw fights for a shady betting syndicate. You see, unlike the aforementioned Mister Carter, the legendary Wildcat opted to don his feline guise so he could take these bad guys down while protecting his real identity. And he did, eventually, thanks to his trusted right hooks, his ever reliable body jabs, and of course, being a member of the Justice Society of America couldn't have hurt either.
Sitting somewhere between Ted and Michael is Victor, Victor Stone, AKA Cyborg, who like Michael, was also a high school football star until a cosmic disaster made him into the metal clad hero we all know an love today. Although, that said, if you take a look at his origins prior to the New 52 (where he was initially a member of the Teen Titans, not the Justice League), you might find it interesting to know that he became a football star because, like Ted, he wanted to show his family and friends that he could make something of his life, something worthwhile.
Years before Barbra Gordon, Cassandra Cain, or Stephanie Brown became Batgirl, Mary Elizabeth Kane was Batgirl, as she was the first nice lady to take on this mantel by dressing up like a parrot attending a carnival. Now of course this all transpired in pre-crisis continuity, during a time where her aunt Kathy, also known as Batwoman, wasn't a lesbian and wasn't related to Bruce Wayne. Years later Bette's origins were revised and she became the tennis ace known as Flamebird, who was inspired to don this Kryptonian guise and join Titans West because of her idol, Robin the Boy Wonder.
Now if you were a super-villain, and you had to fight against one of the most powerful beings in the known universe, namely, Hal Jordan of the Green Lantern Corps, what type of weapon would you use? Why obviously you'd use a metal Javelin, right? I mean, what else can you use against a hero who can basically make anything he can imagine? I hope you can detect the sarcasm in my words, dear reader, especially when I say that this villain was once a German Olympian who turned to a life of crime for the shear hell of it. Tut-tut-tut! No wonder he died during his time in the Suicide Squad.
Triathlon / 3D Man (Track Star)
During the 1980s many governments and organisations around the world urged people to 'just say no' to drugs. I wished Delroy Garrett Junior took notice of this, because if he did, he wouldn't have had the three gold medals he won at the Olympic Games taken away from him. In despair this caused him to turn to a religious organisation, named 'The Triune Understanding', who gave him one of three mysterious fragments that bestowed him with the powers of 3-D Man, later known as Triathlon.
Now can you think of any other sports related superheroes I might have missed out on? Apart from Marvel's NFL SuperPro, of course, real name Phil Grayfield. Or for that matter, Jay Garrick, the original Golden age Flash, who like Michael and Victor was also a football ace. If so, please drop me a comment in the section below as it's always great to hear what you nice people think.