We know that many of our favorite Korean stars have a multitude of talents aside from acting, like modeling and singing. But did you know that some big stars actually got their start in the world of sports? These 8 actors all went above and beyond with their athletic abilities, competing at a national level before switching over to the world of acting.

1. Sung Hoon: Swimming

Noble, My Love star Sung Hoon was a member of the national swim team and specialized in the butterfly. After suffering from a spinal injury, he decided to take a break from swimming and enlisted in the military, but the same injury sent him home early. Without any modeling or acting experience, he decided to audition for New Tales of a Gisaeng, and he landed the lead role! I'm pretty sure all that swimming helped prepare him for the many, many shirtless scenes in Noble, My Love.

2. Song Joong Ki: Short track speed skating

Song Joong Ki participated in the National Games several times as a short track speed skater back in middle school, and he won some events at the South Korea National Athletics Meet. Like Sung Hoon, he had to quit because of an injury to his knee, but he was able to put his skating skills to good use in the drama Triple.

3. Lee Si Young: Boxing

Unlike most of the people on this list, Lee Si Young actually moved from her acting career into a boxing career instead of the other way around. After picking up boxing in preparation for a drama role, she discovered a passion for the sport.  In 2013, she won the women's 48-kg title at the 24th National Amateur Boxing Championships. You can tell that she knows how to perform her own fight scenes in her recent action series My Beautiful Bride.

4. UEE: Swimming

UEE's father was a professional baseball coach, so it's no surprise that she's athletic! As a high school student at Incheon Physical Education High School, UEE competed in the National Sports Festival for swimming. Although her idol and acting activities keep her busy, she was able to pull from her swimming knowledge to play an Olympic swimmer in Fool's Love earlier this year.

5. So Ji Sub: Swimming

Yes, we have another swimmer on the list! As a child, So Ji Sub had zero interest in acting, instead training from the age of 10 to become a professional swimmer. He trained for over 10 years in the sport, winning a bronze medal at the National Games. These days, he uses his athletic experience for various advertising campaigns, like his 2012 Powerade CF.

6. Seo Ji Suk: Track and field

This is a sad story, but at least it has a happy ending. Seo Ji Suk was a talented 100m and 200m sprinter in middle school, winning multiple gold medals in various events. At the age of 16, he had been selected to prepare for the national team when he was hit by a car and had to spend six months in the hospital, ending his athletic career. Later, a talent agent spotted him on the street and sparked his interest in acting.

7. Lee Tae Sung: Baseball

Lee Tae Sung played baseball in the national youth league until he suffered a shoulder injury and had to stop. In 2007, he played a talented young baseball player with the opportunity to go pro in the romantic comedy 9 End, 2 Outs. He now plays for the celebrity baseball team the Playboys.

8. Yoon Hyun Min: Baseball 

Yoon Hyun Min quit a career in professional baseball to pursue acting. He played for the Hanwha Eagles and the Doosan Bears for a total of four years before deciding to make his stage debut in 2007. 

Did any of these stars surprise you? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and don't forget to watch Sung Hoon in the web series Noble, My Love: