These inspirational athletes are, in my opinion, the five greatest athletes of all time. I hope you agree that they have taught us all something about courage and determination:
1. Michael Jordan
A basketball player that shocked everybody with his insane skill. He was absolutely magical to watch and was instrumental in making the National Basketball League publically known throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. He is also been named ‘the greatest basketball player ever to have lived’. Jordan’s greatness is perhaps best encapsulated in his famous quote about never giving up:
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
605 league games, 589 league goals. Simply put he is the greatest footballer ever to have lived. He won 3 world cups with Brazil and had the cleverest footballing brain ever to grace to pitch. His inspirational talent has provided an ideal, possibly even a template for other young footballers to try and match. Maradonna is compared to Pele, Messi is compared to Maradonna, it all hails from he who is nicknamed ‘G-O-D’, it’s Pele.
3. Muhammad Ali
Born Cassius Clay. He is a former American boxer, who from 22 began to win… and win… and win. The world heavyweight championship was his from that spectacularly young age and he just wouldn’t stop! His career was shadowed by the fact that he refused to be conscripted into the US army for the Vietnam War.
He was stripped of his title and only after four years was his case successful and was he allowed to fight again. He then went on to be the greatest boxer in history.
4. Alexander Karelin
A Russian who is considered the greatest Greco-Roman wrestler in modern history. He has won 3 Olympic gold medals and one silver. His great strength was renowned and he went 13 years unbeaten in international competition. For any majorly physical sportsman, this specimen can only be described as inspirational. The fact he has a PHD in physical education rounds it all off; whoever said sportsmen can’t be clever was wrong.
5. Bo Jackson
The first athlete to be named ‘all-star’ in two American sports. He was a great baseball player and a very good American football player, pretty much defining the term ‘all-rounder’.
One of his finest achievements is the fastest ever recorded ’40-yard dash’ for an NFL player which was in just 4.12 seconds. A truly inspirational athlete for anybody who likes to do a bit of everything, from sprinting, to long jump, to triple jump, to football to baseball. He had it all.