Whether it’s physical strength, overcoming hardships, or pure stamina, some athletes are great inspirations.
There have been so many inspiring sports stars throughout history. Athletes must have a strong mentality to become the best in their field. Therefore, they can be a source of inspiration for many people who watch them on TV or in competitions.
We highlight a diverse range of athletes who have gone above and beyond in their sport and in life. The ten most inspiring sports stars of all time are listed below.
- Whether it’s physical strength, overcoming hardships, or pure stamina, some athletes are great inspirations.
- 10. Francis Ngannou – escaping struggle to become a fighter
- 9. Lindsey Vonn – bouncing back after a ton of setbacks
- 8. Michael Jordan – coming from a marginalised background pushing through to greatness
- 7. Simone Biles – from a difficult start in life to a huge success in gymnastics
- 6. Megan Rapinoe – using her platform to stand up for injustices
- 5. Danica Patrick – breaking down the barriers for women in motorsports
- 4. Usain Bolt – helping the community he came from
- 3. Alexander Ovechkin – showing that you can still be the best no matter what stage of your career you’re at
- 2. Bethany Hamilton – not letting fear stop her
- 1. Naomi Osaka – standing up for communities and becoming an activist for mental health
10. Francis Ngannou – escaping struggle to become a fighter
The UFC fighter fought for his dream to become a fighter by escaping poverty in Cameroon and pushing himself to make it in the sport. He made it to the UFC in just three years of making it to Paris and befriending Francis Carmont and Fernand Lopez!
This shows us that no matter what life throws at you, there is a way to change your life and chase your dreams.
9. Lindsey Vonn – bouncing back after a ton of setbacks
Lindsey Vonn is a three-time Olympic medalist in skiing. She knew skiing was what she wanted to do since childhood and kept chasing that dream. However, the road to becoming a champion skier was not easy for Vonn.
She had a lot of physical setbacks, such as tearing her ACL and gaining many concussions over her career. But she never let it stop her from achieving everything she wanted in her career. She is an inspiration to many people out there.
8. Michael Jordan – coming from a marginalised background pushing through to greatness
Michael Jordan was a basketball player from 1984 to 2002. He finished his career with six NBA titles. He tried to make it in basketball since he was a child, but at the age of 15, he failed to make the school team.
The willpower Jordan showed during this time to continue to practice and make a name for himself proves he is one of the most inspiring sports stars of all time.
7. Simone Biles – from a difficult start in life to a huge success in gymnastics
As a child, Simone Biles was sent into foster care before being adopted into a family that could provide for her. She learnt to be confident and joined gymnastics.
She quickly became a success within the sport and inspired so many people because of her accomplishments. She also serves as an inspiration for speaking out against injustices.
6. Megan Rapinoe – using her platform to stand up for injustices
Megan Rapinoe, a successful football player in the USA, counts two World Cups among her slew of honours. Rapinoe decided to use her platform and status to stand up for injustices and become an advocate for marginalised people.
She is a vocal champion of payment equality and LGBTQ+ rights, and is a fierce opponent of police brutality in the US.
5. Danica Patrick – breaking down the barriers for women in motorsports
Patrick didn’t let her gender define what she could do in her career. She went on to become the only woman to win an IndyCar race.
She broke the gender barrier in this male-dominant industry and inspired more women to do the same. This makes her one of the most inspiring sports stars of all time.
4. Usain Bolt – helping the community he came from
Usain Bolt became the greatest sprinter of all time and used this status to establish The Usain Bolt Foundation. The foundation aims to create opportunities, particularly in Jamaica, to enhance the health and education of young people.
3. Alexander Ovechkin – showing that you can still be the best no matter what stage of your career you’re at
Ovechkin is currently an NHL winger for the Washington Capitals. At 36 years old and with 761 goals in his career, he is in his 17th season in the NHL. However, this doesn’t stop Ovechkin from taking to the ice like he just started his career.
His story inspires people not to worry about how long they’ve been doing something. Ovechkin shows that if you’re still performing well, you can continue to do what makes you happy.
2. Bethany Hamilton – not letting fear stop her
Hamilton is someone who is often missed out on these lists; however, she is one of the most inspiring sports stars of all time. The surfer was attacked by a shark and lost one of her arms in the brutal event in 2003. But Hamilton didn’t let the shark win or let fear take over her despite the dangerous nature of the sport.
She returned to the ocean to continue her career as a professional surfer and won her first national title shortly after. She didn’t let the horrific experience stop her from achieving everything she wanted from life and continues to thrive today.
Hamilton’s story is one of bravery, survival, and inspiration.
1. Naomi Osaka – standing up for communities and becoming an activist for mental health
Osaka is a tennis star but also a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, taking her role as an activist very seriously in recent years.
Furthermore, she uses her platform as a sports star to spread awareness about mental health and showcase that sports stars are just like everyone else and can have issues too.
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