Athletes are on a league of their own. They’re a bunch of highly dedicated, committed, passionate, and well-disciplined individuals who know how to harness every bit of their gifts to succeed. Over the course of man’s history we’ve been graced by some of the most outstanding athletes in their respective fields. Here, we’re going to share with you our picks of the 5 greatest sports figures that have ever lived.
- Sir Edmund Hillary, Mountain Climbing
We clearly wouldn’t know much about Mt. Everest being the highest peak in the world if not for the mountaineering efforts of Sir Edmund Percival Hillary. Together with his Nepalese mountaineer, this New Zealander became the first climber to have successfully reached Mt. Everest’s summit and has, since then, become one of the 20th century’s most influential people.
- Sugar Ray Robinson, Boxing
There are many boxing greats and legends. We were actually divided between Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali. However, given the fact that Robinson competed in 2 weight class divisions gaining 109 Kos for a 175-19-6-2 record from 1940 until 1965, we knew that he deserves the title of being the greatest boxer of all time. One of the highlights of Robinson’s career was a single loss in his first 123 fights. A nearly flawless pugilist at welterweight, no one could much Robinson’s tenacity in the ring.
- Pele, Football
FIFA awarded Pele as the 20th century’s best footballer with 3 World Cup plums in his belt. He has 1,281 goals safely tucked in his belt obtained from playing 1,363 games. In the years 1959, 1961, and 1965 Pele scored no less than 100 goals every year. As prolific a scorer Pele is, the only chip to his stellar career is that he never got the chance to show his wares in the European circuit where talent is definitely teeming in the sport.
- Michael Phelps, Swimming
There is no questioning the greatest swimmer of all time. With 28 Olympic medals under his belt, 23 of which were gold. He won 6 golds in the 2004 Athens Olympics, 8 gold in the Beijing Olympics of 2008, 4 in the 2012 London Olympics, and 5 in the Rio Olympics of 2016. Phelps also excelled in other international competitions, bringing with him a total of 65 golds, 14 silvers, and 3 bronzes.
- Ray Ewry, Olympian
He may be overshadowed by the sheer number of Olympic gold medals of Michael Phelps. But when it comes to the modern Olympics, one name truly stands out: Ray Ewry. This American athlete competed in the 1900 Olympics and won 3 gold medals in the standing high jump, the standing triple jump, and the standing long jump, all 3 of which are now obsolete. The reason why Ewry beats Phelps and even Bolt in our top Olympian plum is the nature of the games in the 19th century. They relied mostly on their natural skills to best other competitors. Today’s Olympians have advanced technology and science to thank for.
These athletes excel in their sport because of sheer dedication and commitment to the ideals of the game. They are role models in our own pursuit for excellence in our chosen fields of endeavor.