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Yes, usually jocks are just dumb. But this jock 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 Pac10. In other words it's what you get when you combined a well toned mind with well toned muscles.

Possibly as a form of Positive Discrimination, girls are more likely to get this treatment then guys, even though the sports being played are traditional male sports. 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.

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

Can overlap with Renaissance Man if the Academic Athlete has more than just the two skills, especially if he has artistic ones.

Compare Genius Bruiser, Badass Bookworm, Adventurer Archaeologist, and the Duo Tropes of Brains and Brawn.

Examples of Academic Athlete include:

Anime and Manga

  • Azumanga Daioh's 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.
    • However, Sakaki is the best athlete at the school, and also excels in her studies. She has the next highest test scores after Chiyo and Yomi.
  • In Kare Kano, 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.
  • Natsumi Hinata from Keroro Gunso 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.
  • Hinagiku Katsura of Hayate the Combat Butler is the Student Council Presdient 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).
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kristin Amanda “Kristy” Thomas from The Baby Sitters Club has the management skills to create the club and be it's president. Her sport is softball and she even starts a kids' team.

Live-Action TV

  • Basketball star Mary Camden from 7th Heaven will occasionally tutor other characters.
  • Samantha “Sam” Kepler from Wishbone participates in every sport her male friends do and is picked for her class team captain spelling bee because she's always reading.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder from Little House On the Prairie will get dirty and play baseball as a child but at sixteen she becomes more elegant and gets her first teaching job.
  • Jane Vaughan of Degrassi 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.

Western Animation

  • It's not usually emphasized in the succeeding episodes, but a flashback in the Five-Part Pilot of the 80s G.I. Joe cartoon shows lead character Duke up late studying in his college days as well as daylight athletics.

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.