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Academic Athlete

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Throwing pointers and giving pointers.
Yes, jocks and athletes are typically portrayed as unintelligent (sometimes to the point of being Too Dumb to Live). But this guy, or girl, is different — this jock just made the Dean's List and has to choose between an academic scholarship to a prestigious Ivy League school, or the football scholarship in the Big 12. In other words, it's what you get when you combine a well-toned mind with well-toned muscles.

For whatever reason, at least in fiction, this character is usually much more likely to be female than male, even though the sports being played are traditionally male-dominated. In real life, it's a much different story, as plenty of male academic athletes exist, but at least in fiction, Academic Athletes are Almost Always Female, possibly for feminist (or not-so feminist) reasons. This is probably done as a mix of Passionate Sports Girl and Higher Education Is for Women. If there's a contrast between two girls, this one will be firmly the Tomboy in Tomboy and Girly Girl because of how independent she is. Sensitive Guy and Manly Man on the other hand are less likely to use this as the sensitive guy is more likely to be academic and the manly man is more likely to be athletic. If there is a contrast between two athletic tomboys, the toxic manly tomboy will most likely not be an academic or cultured athlete, while the relatively more effeminate boyish tomboy (or a tomboy with a stronger girly streak) will be both an academic and cultured athlete. Truth in Television: studies have shown that students, both male and female, that engage in artistic extracurricular activities, such as music, singing, dancing, and other fine arts and crafts, tend to get better grades than those who do not engage in artistic extracurricular activities, so in many cases, a female academic athlete is also more likely to be an artistically cultured athlete as well.

A common way for works of media art to play with this trope is by making the Academic Athlete a Jack of All Trades who is good at both, but not the best at either. Once again, in this scenario, the character is most likely to be a female tomboy, whereas the male tomgirl/girly boy will be excellent at academics, but poor at athletics, while the male Manly Man will be excellent at athletics, but poor at academics. As for girly girls, since once again, higher education is (usually) for women, girly girls will be excellent at academics, but poor at athletics, similar to tomgirls and girly boys. If there is a Tomboy and Girly Girl contrast taken into account, assuming the media work is using this scenario, the girly girl (and the tomgirl/girly boy) will usually have better academic grades than the tomboy; however, in turn, the tomboy will usually have better academic grades than the manly man, since she takes her grades more seriously. However, since there are limitations as to how much time and effort she can dedicate to both academics and athletics, it will affect her performance in both departments.

Another common way to play with this trope, when featuring both male and female academic athletes, is to have them excel better at different subjects based on their gender. In Real Life, when it comes to college, male students are more dominant in the STEM fields (natural and formal sciences, technology, and engineering fields), whereas female students are more dominant in humanities, arts, and social sciences (also known as social studies); business fields can swing either way, but tend to lean slightly more towards men.

They don't have a Dumb Muscle look to them, neither a smart but sporty look—it's more somewhere between casual and tough.

Can overlap with Renaissance Man (or rather, Renaissance Woman). Very often Truth in Television, especially in individual sports. If the character is intended to be gay in order to appeal to the LGBTQ demographic, she may also be a Lesbian Jock, although not all female athletes are lesbians.

Compare Genius Bruiser, Badass Bookworm, Adventurer Archaeologist, and Genius Ditz. Contrasts with Dumb Jock and Brains Versus Brawn.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Hanako Honda from Asobi Asobase is academically skilled enough to consistently receive high marks on her tests, and she also used to be the ace player of her school's Soft Tennis Club. Ironically, she joined that club not so much out of love for the sport as much as love for boys, and the resulting lack of a social life due to athletic pressures made her quit for good.
  • Kozue and Kyoko from Attack No. 1 are two of Fujimi's best students (especially the latter) and talented volleyball players (especially the former).
  • Azumanga Daioh:
    • Koyomi Mizuhara is an honors student, second only to Chiyo academically. She's also an outstanding athlete and usually does well during their school's annual sports fest.
    • Whereas Sakaki is the best athlete at the school, but also excels in her studies. Her test scores are usually shown to be just under Chiyo's and Yomi's.
  • Maruo Eiichiro in Baby Steps is the poster child for this. He's a straight-A student before he starts playing tennis and manages to keep his grades up during his very heavy training schedule. It even leaks into his style of play and he keeps meticulous notes of every point in all his matches.
  • Touko and Saka of Bloom Into You are the two top students in the school, and very skilled at sports. When the student council competes against the other clubs, they, with Touko and Sayaka's help, come in third, just after the basketball team.
  • Light Yagami in Death Note is the top-scoring student in the country, and also excels at sports (as shown by his tennis match with L) where his prowess at soccer, for example, contributes to his status as a local Big Man on Campus.
  • All the good quarterbacks in Eyeshield 21, Devil-Bats lineman Jumonji, sociopathic Jerk Jock Agon, and too many other examples to count. Generally the series likes avoiding Dumb Jock as much as possible.
    • Agon actually took a sports scholarship to Shinryuuji, even though he qualified for an academic scholarship, simply because he didn't like the other guy up for it.
  • Parodied with Miyu Edelfelt of Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA - on her first day in elementary school she uses high-school-level math to solve a geometry problem, while her attempt at the 50 meter dash smashes world records.
  • Kei Tsukishima of Haikyuu!! is a regular member of the Karasuno boys' volleyball team despite only being in his first year, and he's regarded as a smart guy at school (Class 1-4 is one of the advanced classes). The Book Dumb duo Hinata and Kageyama at one point (begrudgingly) ask him to tutor them so they won't fail their exams. While Tsukishima's physical prowess is average at best (only his ~190cm height is something to write home about), he makes up for it with his intellect; the official statistics rate his game sense 5/5, meaning he strategises very effectively during matches.
  • Hinagiku Katsura of Hayate the Combat Butler is the Student Council President with the highest grades whenever they are mentioned (her treasurer is second-highest and her secretary third) as well as the Captain of the rarely-ever-mentioned Kendo Team. As seen in the school's athletic festival and marathon race, she trumps just about everyone at school with the possible exceptions of Hayate himself and her older sister Yukiji (although Yukiji is nowhere near as smart as her and Hayate eventually studies to get near her level but has yet to surpass her).
  • Chiyu Sawaizumi from Healin' Good♡Pretty Cure is not only the most athletic member of her team, she also gets the best grades.
  • In His and Her Circumstances, Miyazawa and Arima are always near the top of the school's exam rankings, and Arima wins nationally at kendo. For Miyazawa, only other characters praise her sports ability, though.
  • Hungry Heart: Wild Striker: Kyosuke's older brother Seisuke Kanou is a pro soccer player who rose through the ranks to play for the AC Milan, and according to many characters also had very high grades as a student.
  • Inazuma Eleven: Kidou is one of the best soccer players introduced early in the series and has top grades at both English and Math. He manages both at the same time.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • Kaguya consistently has the second highest grades in her class, has two black belts, and is the star member of the school's archery team.
    • Tsubame is ranked seventh among the senior class and is a member of the school's rhythmic gymnastics club.
    • Mikado is the only person in all of Japan to have scored higher than Shirogane on the last mock exams and is the led his school's soccer team to the inter-school championships.
  • In The Love and Creed of Sae Maki, Sae Maki is both a gifted student and an incredible athlete. Though her book smarts don't come up much, she is dangerously cunning and a shockingly capable Kick Chick in a fight.
  • Fate Testarossa of Lyrical Nanoha is shown in side-materials to be this as a student. She gets perfect marks in nearly every subject (except for Japanese language) in school and being so good at math that she helps Nanoha's older sister with her math homework. On the other end, even without using her powers, she's second to only resident Passionate Sports Girl Suzuka in terms of athletics. The same is true for most practicing mages in the Nanohaverse: as explained in the A's manga, the series' Magitek basically relies on crunching numbers really fast in your head, while the constant channeling of Mana makes a mage's body superhumanly strong and durable. Fate does stand out even among mages, however, thanks to her natural diligence and studiousness.
  • Daigo's sister Izumi from Major 2nd inherited her father's great baseball abilities and her mother's book smarts. It annoys Daigo as, unlike his dad, he's an average player with a weak swing and also he's average at school too.
  • Maken-ki!: Azuki initially seems like a jock, due to her tomboyish behavior and natural athleticism. But near the beginning of chapter 14, she's revealed to be an honors student at Tenbi Academy.
  • Katsuki Bakugo from My Hero Academia is a a very smart student, being in the top of his class before UA. However, being a hero is like a being an athlete in the MHA world, so he trains to become one while being a Jerk Jock to everyone (mostly to Izuku Midoriya).
  • Tezuka and Atobe from The Prince of Tennis are both the captain of their teams and the Student Council Presidents. Tezuka is so smart that he can even correct teachers sometimes.
  • Emma from The Promised Neverland is one of the three top scorers at her orphanage and can beat both of the other two at footraces. She still can't beat them at tag, though.
  • Akemi Homura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica is one of the smartest and best at sports in her class. Which makes the contrast with her initial role as being neither good at academics nor able to do gym class at all in Timeline 1 that much more jarring.
  • Ranma ˝: Tatewaki Kuno is the captain of his school kendo team and noted to get very good grades. On the other hand, his academic smarts don't stop him from being a complete idiot in other ways.
  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena, the rose-seal duelists are not only the prettiest and most popular students (generally composed of the Absurdly Powerful Student Council and Utena) but they are also all excellent students to complete the perfect appearance. Given the nature of the series this sense of perfection is the source of both speculation and dramatic tension.
  • Natsumi Hinata from Sgt. Frog is both the top athlete in school and near the top of her class in grades as well. She is contrasted with her little brother Fuyuki who is both un-athletic and more interested in his hobby than his studies. The Gag Dub naturally exaggerates both of these tendencies.
  • Takenori Akagi from Slam Dunk is both the captain of the basketball team and one of the smartest students in Shohoku. Hilariously lampshaded when Sakuragi and Miyagi imagine him at class... as a gorilla with glasses. It's a plot point in the "gym fight" episodes, as he's stuck in an advanced class when Mitsui and his gang attempt to destroy the basketball team.

    Comic Books 
  • Barbara Gordon was a star student throughout her life, and also took various martial arts classes from the age of 6 up into college.
  • Before becoming Batwoman, Kate Kane played soccer and took gymnastics in middle school, and became an internationally-qualified gymnast in high school; in high school, she was at the top of her class. She later boxed at West Point (with strong evidence she was a school champion) and was also academically successful, maintaining a class placement between the 95th and 99th percentile and eventually earning the rank of Brigade Executive Officer.
  • Played for Laughs in Tintin, where Professor Calculus claims to be this. Haddock uses "complete athlete" (i.e., Dumb Jock) during one of his rants a short while after.

  • The Doki Doki Literature Club Loops has Monika in this role, as implied in the source canon.
  • Harry Potter fanfic Returning focuses on Ravenclaw House (the house that values intelligence the most), whose Quidditch team consists largely of this type (with the exception of a couple of CloudCuckooLanders). Rose Weasley also falls into this category, having inherited her mother's brains and her father's love of Quidditch.
  • In A Spot of Tea and the Spark in the Dark series, Dick Grayson is naturally portrayed as being an honor roll student in addition to becoming a master martial artist and an acrobat (though he doesn't do much of the latter in school so as not to give away his Secret Identity).
  • The Simpsons: Team L.A.S.H.: Simon Skinner-Chalmers loves school, gets phenomenal grades, and serves as Team L.A.S.H.'s resident brainiac. He also enjoys playing hockey and is exceptionally physically strong and agile.
  • Total Drama Legacy has Storm, the daughter of Cameron and Lightning. A Passionate Sports Girl with a GPA of 4.0, she is adept both physically and mentally. Unsurprising, considering who her parents are.

    Films — Animation 
  • A Cut Song from Frozen (2013), "More Than Just the Spare," has a line describing Elsa as "the athlete, scholar, poet."
  • Scooby-Doo! and the Loch Ness Monster: Sir Ian is a skinny, gray-haired museum director and scholar who is also the head judge for the Highland games and can throw a thick caber quite a distance.
  • In Turning Red, Mei, in addition to being a straight A student, is shown to be good enough at badminton to have won multiple competitions.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This was done to Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin, with Victor Fries described as a decathlete who won a Nobel Prize for his work in molecular biology. It was mostly because of them casting Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role.
  • Played with in The Cabin in the Woods. Curt is both a football player and on a full academic scholarship. The Conspiracy more or less randomly turns him into the Dumb Jock and his teammate Truman into The Smart Guy, because they need people in those specific roles.
  • Spoofed in The Comebacks, where the eponymous college football team is, to a man, on the Dean's list. Their coach, however, is upset upon hearing this, as it doesn't fit with the dumb, irresponsible jock stereotype. He encourages them to slack off and party more often.
  • Friday Night Lights: Brian Chavez doesn't have the best football instinct on the team, but his teammates joke that Chavez already has a ticket out of their small town anyway because he has the grades.
  • The Archer: Lauren is both a straight A student and an expert archer on her high school archery team.
  • Man of the House: Anne is a pre-med student who is also a cheerleader and probably cares more about her classes than her four house mates combined.
  • Andre in Necessary Roughness. He got into Texas State on a football/chemistry scholarship, and by his third year has nearly completed his PhD and is already teaching classes. He quit football to focus on academics his freshman year, but he steps up when the school's program is in danger and the team needs players. Other than the QB, he's the only one on the team who's ever played before.
    • Edison, another player, is not an academic athlete, but mentions that he has two cheerleaders who've been doing his homework for him (at least before Andre starts helping him study).
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: In addition to being a fit jock, recurring character Dan Jordan is the valedictorian of his class.
  • In the third installment of The Mighty Ducks, Coach Orion demands this of his players.
    "Eden Hall Academy requires you to maintain a "C" average to compete. I believe that's a bad rule. I don't want any "C" players on my team. It's B's or better or you're riding the pine pony."
  • The DC Extended Universe version of Victor Stone was this before he got crippled in a car accident and became Cyborg. He was on the football team of Gotham City University and worked with his parents at S.T.A.R. Labs. His football career is touched upon in Zack Snyder's Justice League, and his former self wearing his GCU jacket is his avatar when he ventures in the digital world.
  • Casey in Ice Princess is a figure skating prodigy in addition to being a math genius whose been offered a scholarship.
  • Safety Patrol: Hannah is head of the middle school cheerleading squad (who have a well-choreographed dance routine) and the valedictorian.
  • Zack in She's All That is both popular and the captain of the soccer team. When he hits on the unpopular art geek, she assumes he wants him to tutor her, and he responds that he has the fourth-highest GPA in the class.
  • The Winklevoss twins in The Social Network (also in real life). Erudite, Ivy League bluebloods who both manage to maintain straight A's at Harvard while training to row in the Olympics.

  • Kristin Amanda "Kristy" Thomas from The Baby-Sitters Club has the management skills to create the club and be its president. Her sport is softball and she even starts a kids' team. It's also mentioned that she consistently earns straight As.
  • Jess of Bridge to Terabithia thinks highly of Leslie Burke because she beat all the fifth grade boys in their race and she can impress teachers with her imaginative essays and ability to appear focused in class.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Mikoto Misaka is better at academics than Touma (despite being a few years younger than him) and also highly athletic. Most of this is justified by Mikoto being a high-level esper, meaning she receives much better tuition than Touma and has limited Super-Intelligence as a Required Secondary Power - in her spinoff series the presence of her classmates makes it far less notable.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Sunnydale High Yearbook reveals that several athletically-inclined students from the show have skills in some smarter fields, or vice versa.
    • Spear Carrier cheerleaders Amber Grove and Lishanne Davis "The Witch" are both part of the Science Club and Lishanne is on the yearbook staff, with Lishanne being voted the female student who most embodies "Looks and Books".
    • Owen Thurman, the poetry lover who goes out with Buffy in "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date", is part of the yearbook staff and is also on the tennis team. He is voted the male student who most embodies "Looks and Books".
    • Lisa Campiti, one of the talent show contestants from "The Puppet Show", is on the track team, is a Science Club member, and won a prize at a Frenchathon competition for non-native French speakers.
    • Mad Scientist Eric Gittleson from "Some Assembly Required" is also on the tennis team.
    • Ben Straley, the shy student who unsuccessfully asks Buffy out in "I Only Have Eyes for You", is on both the Math Club and the swim team.
    • Jerk Jock quarterback John Lee Walker from "The Wish" is a Computer Club member.
    • Michael Czajak, the budding warlock from "Gingerbread", is a ballet dancer and tennis team member in addition to being part of the Math and Science Clubs.
    • Bullying wrestler and soccer player Roy Dukeshire from "Gingerbread" is a Science Club member.
  • The Dear America book With The Might of Angels has Dawnie who has the highest grades in the elementary division of her school but more than anything she wants to be part of the All-American Girls Baseball League.
  • Misato from Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life? was top of her class in sports and academics alike, and if anything she's even better across the board in her next life.
  • Sally in Don't Call Me Ishmael! is the best in her year and a passionate football player. Scobie tries to be this, but his attempts at any kind of sport fail miserably.
  • In the Seanan Mcguire book Dying With Her Cheer Pants On, Amy (a member of the Decoy Protagonist squad in the first chapter) is the only cheerleader who can always land a perfect back handspring. She also helps her squadmates study for exams and is hinted to like classical literature.
  • Fear Street: Phoebe Yamura is a Straight-A student and is also the head cheerleader, showing some impressive acrobatic talent on the field.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Draco Malfoy is the Seeker of the Slytherin team and also usually one of the students getting high grades. He scores high enough in his exams to qualify for the very exclusive NEWT Potions class in the sixth book.
    • Harry himself is an exceptionally talented Quidditch player and, while often falling under Brilliant, but Lazy, achieves Exceeds Expectations or higher O.W.L.s in Defense Against the Dark Arts, Charms, Transfiguration, Herbology, Care of Magical Creatures and even Potions, which is noted to be a fairly exclusive class once he applies himself.
    • His dad, James, was star Chaser on his own Quidditch team all while being the top of his class and becoming an illegal animagus under Dumbledore’s nose at fifteen. Even McGonagal needed help from Dumbledore with it when she was in school.
    • This also applies to Ron Weasley, who is also a Quidditch player and passes the same O.W.L.S. as Harry. (The only ones they fail are History of Magic and Divination, which are treated as joke classes by pretty much everyone.)
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: The title character is excellent at P.E. and does her homework effortlessly.
  • Operation Do-Over: Clarisse is the only student in the school who is as academically-inclined as Ty and Mason. After witnessing her display amazing speed when she runs away from an argument with him, Mason convinces her to join the track team so she can improve her social status and sense of character the way football has improved him. Clarisse hates doing it at first, but by the last chapter, she's setting track records for the whole county while retaining her high academic standing, and she clearly loves it.
    Ava: She's a cheetah, and a tyrant when it comes to science fair projects.
  • Yuki, Shindou, and Musa from Run with the Wind are all excellent university students as well as members of the Kansei University's long distance track team. Yuki passed the bar exam in one try, Musa is a foreign exchange student who studies engineering (and speaks fluent Japanese), and he and Shindou always get good grades and are lightly mocked by the team as those "damn honour students". All three start off as lacking runners, but eventually become good enough to get officially recorded times and help the team qualify for Hakone Ekiden.
  • Shana of Shakugan no Shana fame is shown as being hypercompetent at both, which is in part justified by her being a superhuman.
  • T*A*C*K: Chuck is not only good at sports, but he's a decent student and even represents Sandy Harbor at the regional spelling bee.
  • Soccer Team KZ in Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note was chosen by Shumei Seminar to be a group of this. Much of the athlete part is already evident in the anime, but the first page of the novel already reminded the little readers that the KZ team's minimum academic requirement is... top 2.2%note . Since all the boys in the cast are current or former members of this team, they all fall into this trope.
  • Fthfth in Terra Trilogy is the daughter of two brilliant scientists and intends to "invent time travel" when she grows up. She is also a skilled and extremely competitive player of gshkth, a Fnrrn sport that seems to be a bit like field hockey.
  • Sayumi Takanashi of When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace is second best at studies in the school and has two black belts.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 7th Heaven: Basketball star Mary Camden will occasionally tutor other characters.
  • Degrassi: Jane Vaughan is a skilled football player and the Valedictorian of her class. Her plan is to become a lawyer. This is also the same case for Katie, who is not only on the soccer team, but is in karate, the school newspaper, and is student council president.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:
    • Will, at least in season 1. He is his prep school's star basketball player (and a bit of a general goof off), but is also stated to actually be an avid student. He once mentioned how, while growing up in west Philadelphia, a friend had to stop bullies from attacking him for carrying around his textbooks. Played with from season 2 onwards, where he's portrayed as a slacker who is not interested in his academic studies but is still Brilliant, but Lazy and manages to score higher than Carlton on a standardized test.
    • A one-off character who acts as a basketball rival for Will talks about how while he's willing to use a scholarship to get into college (since his poor background makes it the only way for him), he's meticulously planning out his education, since he already understands how low the odds of being picked up as a professional athlete are, and wants to have something to do afterwards even if it happens.
  • Glee: Captain of the cheerleading squad Quinn, is not just an award winning athlete but also maintains a 4.0 GPA while getting pregnant and giving birth to a girl, all while being an active member of the Glee club. She later continues maintaining said GPA after going through a car accident that left her temporarily handicapped, just so she can win homecoming queen.
  • Little House on the Prairie: Laura Ingalls Wilder will get dirty and play baseball as a child but at sixteen she becomes more elegant and gets her first teaching job.
  • Liv and Maddie: Maddie is a Straight A student and basketball star.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: Jennifer Mosely (aka, "Moze") is a Passionate Sports Girl with more athletic records than anyone in the history of James K. Polk Middle School, and a straight-A student.
  • The OA: French is a star lacrosse player and has excellent grades. He's being courted for a full athletic scholarship. As the breadwinner of the family due to his mother's alcoholism, he doesn't have a choice but to succeed.
  • Pretty Little Liars:
    • Spencer's the "smart one" of their group, being one of the top students at their school and a potential captain of the academic decathalon team. For sports, Spencer is into field hockey, lacrosse and tennis (but we never actually see her play).
    • Emily's the most athletic of the four, swimming being her main sport, and while she may not be as smart as Spencer, it's mentioned that she gets good grades.
  • Wishbone: Samantha "Sam" Kepler participates in every sport her male friends do and is picked for her class team captain spelling bee because she's always reading.
  • Jason Mcnamara is Carmen Lopez's on again off again love interest on The George Lopez Show. He is handsome, athletic, caring to his handicapped little brother, a straight a student, rich, and a seemingly great guy.
  • In the original Kamen Rider, Takeshi Hongo is both a genius (with an Improbably High I.Q. of 600) and an accomplished athlete; unfortunately for him, he's exactly the kind of person Shocker is looking for, which gets him kidnapped and turned into a cyborg, kicking off the plot of the series (and the franchise).
  • Yellowjackets:
    • Shauna Shipman was not only an elite soccer player with the Yellowjackets, but also had straight As and had gained early admission to Brown University before the plane carrying the team to the nationals crashed, leaving the survivors stranded in the woods for 19 months.
    • Taissa Turner was also a member of the team. After surviving the plane crash and the time in the woods, she went to Harvard pre-law with a double major in history and philosophy. She made first string on the soccer team, graduated first in her class, then landed an internship in one of the biggest law firms in the United States.
    • Akilah is seen studying for the SATs while in the wilderness, the only one of the survivors who seems to be studying anything at all while there. She also seems to have the most practical knowledge of anyone there when it comes to wilderness survival, having been a Girl Scout.

    Video Games 
  • Science Girls!: Nicole, a member of the Science Club, but also on the track team, as narrated when she joins the party on entering the fourth floor.

    Visual Novels 
  • Double Homework:
    • The protagonist and Tamara both seem to have shades of this. They do well in school and are good at skiing.
    • Invoked by Rachel when she mentions that the Olympic Committee doesn’t like students who slack off.

  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Nanase is an all-star student getting straight A+s while also excelling at martial arts and gym. Granted, she does have magical Super-Strength backing her up, but she's still more than capable athletically when her access to magic is cut off.
    • The minor character Conan is presented as a standard jock at first, but it's soon revealed that he's actually a (literal) giant nerd and is pretty smart as well.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: Cindy Vortex is the second smartest student in school after Jimmy himself, and is also a prodigy in karate.
  • 6teen: Jennifer "Jen" Masterson is a Passionate Sports Girl (her favorite sports apparently being soccer and snowboarding) and offhandedly mentions being a straight-A student in one episode. By contrast, Jonesy Garcia (her stepbrother) doesn't take school as seriously as she does (he, rather offhandedly, mentions in one episode that he's failing two of his classes) and is more of Dumb Jerk Jock.
  • Daria: Mack is a generally intelligent student, while the rest of the football team are all Dumb Jocks. Jodie's also on the tennis team, though you could be forgiven for missing that given all the other activities she's involved in.
  • Futurama has the Globetrotters (from the Globetrotter Planet), who are both professional jive talking basketball players as well as scientific geniuses in physics.
  • Kaeloo:
    • While the cast are never shown going to school on-screen, Mr. Cat has proven to be quite intelligent (academics and otherwise) and is a brilliant athlete as well.
    • Quack Quack is an even better athlete than Mr. Cat, and also better than him at academics (but not smarter than him in any other way).
  • Kim Possible: Kim, as part of her overachiever character design, excels at basically any physical challenge (especially anything related to cheerleading or martial arts) and has always consistently been a straight-A student.
  • The Loud House: In "Future Tense", the athletic Lynn Loud becomes this. While normally considered to be Book Dumb by Lisa and Lincoln, when she takes up mathematics she manages to ace it, suggesting there are some Hidden Depths regarding her intelligence.
  • Molly of Denali: Besides Oscar's intelligence, he is good at playing basketball, as he is shown playing on the school basketball team.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Sunset Shimmer is a former student of Princess Celestia, and while she's not as smart as Twilight, she's still among the more intelligent students. She's also far more athletically competent than human Twilight, as seen in Friendship Games.
  • Superbook (2011): Joy gets good grades at school, is highly involved in extracurricular activities like the chess club, and has been shown in at least two episodes to be skilled enough at soccer to be a practice partner for Chris.
  • The Simpsons: In the episode "Lisa on Ice", Lisa Simpson discovers that she is failing PE despite her positive grades in school. She tries basketball and volleyball, but fails at both of them. One day, she, Homer and Marge go to pick up Bart from a game in pee wee ice hockey. After the game has ended, Bart teases Lisa by using his hockey stick to shoot pieces of litter at her. She manages to block each piece without any trouble. This does not go unnoticed by Apu; the coach of Bart's opposing team. He hits a hockey puck at her and she manages to grab it. Impressed, Apu recruits Lisa and appoints her as the goalie of his team. She proves to be very skilled in hockey and eventually battles Bart's team.

    Real Life 
  • New York 1, a major cable news channel in The Big Apple, offers a "Scholar Athlete of the Month Award" to one high-achieving high school student, in a praise-heavy featurette.
  • Truth in Television for how some well-educated American athletes appear to Europeans where sports is not typically tied to academics but often involves dropping out of school early to pursue one's sports career full-time. From middle school onwards, most American schools with sports teams require student athletes to maintain a certain grade level/GPA in order to stay on the team. The lowest of these averages is a C (about 70%), with tougher coaches requiring better grades.
    • A recent example is Myron Rolle, Rhodes Scholar recipient in 2008. He was an all-ACC defensive back for the Florida State Seminoles and was good enough to get drafted in the NFL in 2010. Rolle never caught on with an NFL team and returned to Florida State to study medicine. After his graduation in May 2017, he took up a neurosurgery residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, the main teaching hospital for Harvard.
    • An even more recent NFL example: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, New York Jets offensive lineman who made his name with the Kansas City Chiefs, was named the top lineman in Canadian university football in 2013 while attending medical school at McGill University in his hometown of Montreal.note  He completed his MD in 2018 while playing with the Chiefs, though he does not plan on doing his residency until ending his football career. Duvernay-Tardif received huge acclaim for putting his football career on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting out of the 2020 NFL season to work as an orderly in a Montreal senior care home.
    • On the other hand, this is an outright Enforced Trope in Europe; since university sports are considered a purely amateur affair that brings in negligible revenue for the institution, there's no incentive to give a brilliant athlete any leeway where academic performance is concerned like certain less reputable US colleges have been accused of.
    • This is also a Subverted Trope in Europe, especially amongst practitioners of individual sports. Many practitioners of individual sports (track and field, swimming, archery, skiing, cycling etc) do have an exit plan as they are aware their career will end someday. Many European athletes do study aside their sports career, and exit to academic career once they decide their sports career is over.
    • Notable British examples would be Alan Turing, who placed 5th in the national trials for the 1948 Olympic marathon besides being the father of computer science and a war hero cryptanalyst, and Roger Bannister, who first studied medicine at Oxford, then had an athletic interlude as the first man to run a mile in under 4 minutes and then continued as a highly renowned neurologist.
      • A few schools have a reputation for specifically being uncompromising. Probably the best-known example would be Stanford University, a member of the Pac-12, one of the five premier athletic conferences (and #1 all-time in NCAA championships won across all sports), but also the "Harvard of the West" that demands high academic standards from all of its students, even the athletes. To a lesser degree, Duke University in North Carolina.
  • Dr. Benjamin Spock was an Olympic rower in 1924.
  • Ken Dryden. Drafted by the Bruins, had his rights traded due to his desire to attend college. Played hockey for four years at Cornell, won championships. Went to law school while playing in the minor leagues. Sat out a year in the NHL on a contract dispute, and did his law clerking instead. Played 8 seasons in the NHL around that and won 6 Stanley Cups as the goaltender for the powerhouse 70s Montreal Canadiens. Hall of Famer AND author of one of the best sports memoirs ever, "The Game". Later became a Member of the Canadian Parliament from 2004-2011.
  • Italian professional cyclist Domenico Pozzovivo has a PhD in economics.
  • Actor and Martial Artist Dolph Lundgren, who earned a Masters in Chemical Engineering in 1982, which he studied for while competing in European karate competitions; he holds a 3rd dan Black Belt in Kyokushin karate.
  • Most students at military academies. They are Badass Bookworms in training, after all.
  • Former NBA star and U.S. Senator Bill Bradley. The top pick in the 1965 NBA Draft, Bradley averaged over 30 points per game for Princeton University, but didn't immediately start his pro basketball career, as he attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. While never a colorful player with gaudy numbers in the pros, he was a key part of the New York Knicks' 1970 and 1973 championship teams and played over a decade in the NBA.
  • NFL quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, a Harvard graduate.
  • Former wrestler Christopher Nowinski is the first Harvard alumnus to wrestle in WWE, and his gimmick mainly revolved around his being such. He retired at the young age of 27 due to concussion-related issues, and is now a renowned expert on sports concussions.
  • Shaquille O'Neal was one of the great NBA players of his time. Then he went back to school and earned his bachelor's, then a doctorate in Education. This was partly owed to, as he described it, burning through the first million dollars he ever made in roughly half an hour.
  • Finnish President Urho Kekkonen won Finnish championships in high jumping 1924. Many Finnish presidents have been notable sportsmen: Pehr Svinhufvud - shooting; C.G.E. Mannerheim - riding; Urho Kekkonen - high jump and skiing; Mauno Koivisto - volleyball; Martti Ahtisaari - basketball. All except Field Marshal Mannerheim did also hold academic degree.
  • Moe Berg was a baseball player who attended New York University and Princeton, graduating from the latter; also graduated from Columbia Law School; studied seven languages (Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Sanskrit); and worked for the US government as a spy during World War II, doing missions in Japan and Europe.
  • Not at all uncommon for aristocracy, both historically and today, thanks to having both leisure time and disposable income to be able to gain proficiency in both.
    • Notable among modern monarchs, Albert II of Monaco graduated from Amherst note  with a degree in political science - sensible, given that he was to be a future sovereign - and distinguished himself in numerous sports, and represented Monaco at the Winter Olympics five consecutive times for bobsleigh. Retired from athletics to become sovereign, and went on to marry an Olympic swimmer.
  • It's, apparently, one reason why Shaolin Kung Fu is a thing. The monks discovered that physical and mental aptitude are symbiotic, and Martial Arts training is used to supplement the usual monk stuff.
  • It's actually a good idea to be one if the time can be spared. Studies show that physical ability and mental ability are symbiotic to some extent (like exercise being a good stress relief), and so it's better to be both rather than one or the other. It's to the point where some high end tech companies (like Google) have built in gyms for just such a reason.
  • Only two persons have won Olympic medals in both sport and art competitions: Walter W. Winans, an American living in England, won a gold medal as a marksman on 1908 and another gold medal on 1912 for his sculpture An American trotter. Alfréd Hajós of Hungary won two gold medals on 1896 and, on 1924, a silver medal for his stadium design.


Video Example(s):


All Those Things

In "Flight of the Bumblebee" from "Yellowjackets," Shauna asks Taissa if she ever thinks about what she would have done with her life if not for the plane crash. Taissa talks about how she would have gone to Harvard pre-law with a double major, made first string on the soccer team, graduate at the top of her class and then land an internship at a prestigious law firm. Shauna points out that this is exactly what she *did* do.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / AcademicAthlete

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