The Rundown

Ten sportspeople with an unusual hidden talent

Eve Muirhead has just been crowned world curling champion for the first time in Riga, Latvia - but she has so many more strings to her bow.

The Scottish lass serves as the inspiration for our list of sporting stars who have a hidden talent that may surprise you...

Eve Muirhead, bagpiper

A scratch golfer, Muirhead was offered scholarships at top universities in the United States but turned them down to concentrate on her curling career. And she is also accomplished in that most traditional of Scottish pastimes - playing the bagpipes. As she told The Times last year: "It might not seem like a cool thing for a schoolgirl to be doing, but it meant that you could skive off other classes to attend lessons... as I got better, I competed at four World Championships. I have a good-quality set of David Naill bagpipes worth about £4,000. Occasionally I get asked to perform on them, such as at the closing banquet of the 2010 World Championships... I have been asked to play at team-mates’ weddings, probably because I’m cheap."

Dominic Dale, opera singer

The extravagant Welshman is one of the best snooker players in the world - but like Muirhead falls headlong into a national stereotype. No, not as a champion leek-grower - but a trained opera singer. He regaled journalists in China with a rendition of My Way a few years back - see the video below. Dale, an occasional commentator at Eurosport, even moved to Vienna and lived near that city's famous opera house for a couple of years - and now lives in Berlin.

Daniel Agger, tattoo artist

Denmark defender Agger loves Liverpool so much that he has the initials YNWA - signifying You'll Never Walk Alone - inked on to the knuckles of his right hand. His back is the canvas for a Viking graveyard - see the picture below - with other tats including Latin proverbs such as 'Mors Certa, Hora Incerta' - 'Death is certain, its hour is not'. Having qualified as a tattoo artist in his own right, he promised to ink the whole team if they won the Premier League title in 2009 - who can blame them for missing out by four points to Manchester United?

Theo Walcott, author

Not content with scaring Premier League defences, Arsenal and England star Walcott has turned his creative hand to literature. Walcott has brought out three books in his series,with the protagonist based upon himself - 'TJ and the hat-trick', 'TJ and the penalty' and 'TJ and the cup run' - but, before you mock him, listed to what the Guardian had to say about them: “Theo’s own story of developing his exceptional speed and striking skill that in the book causes him to fell the irate head teacher but in reality made him the fleet-footed darling of the Emirates at only 17 is threaded through the story. Good on detail, nicely written with a light humorous touch, Theo shows as sure a foot in print as on the pitch.”

Herschel Walker, ballet dancer

American footballer Herschel Walker, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, featured for the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants in the NFL, retiring in 1997. A dozen years later the advanced tae kwon do black belt would have a brief foray into Mixed Martial Arts - winning both of his fights by KO at heavyweight in the Strikeforce series - and competed for the USA in the two-man bobsleigh at the 1992 Winter Olympics. But there is one black mark on his manly CV - he has dabbled in ballet. Walker studied introductory ballet at the University of Georgia and the then Cowboy performed with the Fort Worth Ballet as a one-off in 1988 as a way, ahem, of trying to attract NFL fans to the art form.

Mike Tyson, pigeon fancier

The Scariest Man Alive (TM) holds the record as the youngest undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and won his first 19 professional fights by knockout, 12 of them in the first round. He later served three years in prison for rape, converted to Islam, was married three times, bit off Evander Holyfield's ear in 1997, was addicted to cocaine among other things and suffered through the tragic death of his daughter, who was strangled by a cord on a treadmill in his home. Yet throughout this tumultuous existence he has cared for pigeons - one of his first fights was because a bigger boy pulled the head off one of his pets. A 2011 TV series showed Tyson following this lifelong "emotional attachment" into the competitive realm of pigeon racing.

Dion Dublin, inventor of instruments

Former England striker Dion Dublin is an accomplished amateur percussionist and, while at Norwich City, invented an instrument he labelled "The Dube". Essentially a wooden box with holes in it, he nevertheless performed with Ocean Colour Scene at the University of East Anglia in 2011 and has gotten performers such as Courtney Pine to endorse it. He explains all in the video below.

Clarke Carlisle, Countdown contestant

Carlisle already held the dubious accolade of 'Britain's Brainiest Footballer' - after a 2002 TV quiz show - before appearing on Countdown in 2010, having previously failed with an audition in 2001. The former Blackpool, QPR, Leeds, Watford and Burnley defender defeated the defending champion 89-55 on his first appearance before winning again - by a huge 101-78 scoreline - on the following day. He then looked set to bag a hat-trick of victories before his third opponent bagged the episode-ending conundrum to win by just three points, 89-86.

Jack Russell, artist

England's erstwhile wicketkeeper played second fiddle to Alec Stewart for much of his Test career despite being the better gloveman. However he was famous for dogged rearguard actions against the Australians and South Africans and was one of Wisden's five Cricketers of the Year in 1990. His other passion is art: he began to sketch during a rain-interrupted county game one day and has never looked back, with a portfolio taking in cricket, landscapes, wildlife, canals, military battlefields, architecture and portraits. He has a gallery in Gloucestershire - with the painting below, 'Last Man Out', on the market for a cool £15,000.

DJ Mendieta

Former Spain star Gaizka Mendieta was a crowd favourite at Valencia, Lazio, Barcelona and Middlesbrough - and this is why. The blond bombshell, based outside Middlesbrough, is now a hit in a different kind of club after getting himself some decks - and made his gig debut in London earlier this year. You can see how it went for yourself in the video below.