Wednesday 11 December 2019

6 athletes who rocked glasses in the sporting arena like Chung Hyeon

The South Korean joins the likes of Edgar Davids, Martina Navratilova and the UK’s favourite ski-jumper.

(Ng Han Guan/AP)
(Ng Han Guan/AP)

By Alistair Mason, Press Association

Chung Hyeon has made history by becoming the first South Korean to reach a grand slam semi-final at the Australian Open, becoming a hero to spectacle-wearers the world over in the process.

His glasses, on display during his three-set victory over Tennys Sandgren on Wednesday, are a result of astigmatism and have earned the 21-year-old the predictable nickname The Professor.

Here are some of the other sportspeople who have worn glasses to compete.

1. Edgar Davids

Edgar Davids playing for Barnet

Glasses on the football pitch are rare, given the potential for smashed lenses and bent frames when heads, elbows and the ball itself collide in the penalty area. Davids’ special goggles were a result of being diagnosed with glaucoma while playing for Juventus but they became synonymous with a player who was one of the best midfielders of his generation and the most unlikely player-manager in Barnet’s history.

2. Daniel Vettori

Daniel Vettori bowling for New Zealand

Vettori’s shaggy look and glasses earned him occasional comparisons with Harry Potter and perhaps saw him underestimated when he burst into the New Zealand team at the age of 18. But he went on to be one of his country’s all-time greats, with more than 4,500 Test runs and 362 wickets to his name.

3. Dennis Taylor

Dennis Taylor seen in action during the 1985 Embassy World Snooker Championships

Taylor’s signature “upside-down” specs were famously on display when he beat Steve Davis in the final of the 1985 World Championship. Possibly even more notable for the glasses was the fact they got a mention in the classic 1986 Chas & Dave cue-sports ditty Snooker Loopy.

4. Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova in action at Wimbledon

Navratilova began wearing glasses in 1985 when, during a difficult run of form, she became convinced her eyesight was contributing to her losses. “Before the glasses, I didn’t realise how much I couldn’t see,” she said in an interview with the LA Times shortly after donning the eyewear. Twenty years later, she was still winning grand slam titles.

5. Jacques Villeneuve

Jacques Villeneuve driving for Williams

Although he more commonly wore contact lenses while driving, spectacles were very much part of Villeneuve’s hip image when he moved to F1 in 1996. Ralf Schumacher later had a pair of bulletproof glasses specially made but they weren’t a regular feature of his Grand Prix appearances either.

6. Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards

Great Britain's top ski jumper Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards

Perhaps the most famous sporting spectacles of them all, Edwards wore skiing goggles over his iconic glasses while competing in the ski jumping at the 1988 Winter Olympics. They were later recreated for the Eddie The Eagle movie, released in 2016 – something of an image change for suave Kingsman star Taron Egerton.

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