Jason Statham & Dolph Lundgren: Action Stars And Olympians
Before they were solid gold “action heroes”, both Jason Statham and Dolph Lundgren were bona fide Olympic superstars. Statham, once ranked 12th in the world in platform diving, competed in the 1992 Olympics for Great Britain while the strapping 6'5" Swedish born Lundgren was Team Leader of the 1996 US Pentathlon Team in the Atlanta Games. Naturally, with the Olympic in full swing, during the recent press day for EXPENDABLES 2, I couldn’t resist getting their thoughts on the games and athletics in general.
It is undeniable that Jason Statham is a die hard fan of the Olympics. With a childish gleam in his eye and a grin that stretches from each to ear, he eagerly admits “I’m watching it. I can’t tear myself away from it. I tape it every night and just fast forward through the adverts.” And while he and Lundgren haven’t compared any Olympic memories, Statham is quick to point out, “He’s quite the athlete he is, Dolph.”
Dolph Lundgren is an athlete indeed, as he is not only a former Olympian for the Unites States (and claims his best pentathlon events to be fencing and shooting), but Lundgren also holds multiple black belts in karate and was captain of the Swedish National Karate Team and champion of the Swedish, European and Australian Heavyweight Division titles. But when it comes to the Olympics, it’s easy to see that he is not only humbled by the experience, but very proud of it. Short on viewing time for the XXX Olympiad, Lundgren nevertheless is still “following a little bit. It’s always exciting because these athletes are so good and you’re always amazed at what they can pull out of a hat; the human body. Like gymnasts, what they can do. This 16 year old girl, the gymnast who won the all around gymnast [Gabby Douglas] - Wow! My daughter is 16 and she’s going to Victoria’s Secret, sleeps till noon.”
An all around athlete, Lundgren notes that athletes today, compared to when he was competing 25 years ago, are “getting better. There’s more control on the doping as well. There’s less steroids and things like that; not that there were any steroids in karate because it doesn’t really help you much, but there’s some strength sports there’s more of that, and running. I think they’re getting better. Like everything else, [the] human mind works together with the body and there are new training methods and technical implements that make them run faster and jump higher.”
Reflecting on the Olympic movement, Lundgren and athletes in general, co-star Scott Adkins, sums it up best. “They’re standing on the shoulders of giants, aren’t they? They’re taking off where everyone else left off so they have to be better.” Just like “The Expendables” themselves.